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Sun 24 Jan 2010 10:33 AM

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Average UAE office worker wastes 46 days a year

New research shows time lost on social networking website, gossiping, making tea.

Average UAE office worker wastes 46 days a year
TIME WASTING: The average UAE office worker wastes 46 days a year on non-work activities, a new survey has revealed.

Research released on Sunday has revealed that every UAE-based office employee spends an average of 46 days out of their working year on non-work related activities.

The survey by The Office Exhibition showed that despite putting in long hours, UAE office workers still managed to grab some personal time during the working day, whether on social networking websites, surfing the net, gossiping with colleagues, or making tea.

The survey polled more than 1,000 office workers across the UAE also revealed 150 million cups of tea are made by office workers in the UAE every year, with each person spending almost four and a half working days making them.

The results also showed that office workers in the region spent on average nearly seven working days a year chatting to colleagues.

Some 62 percent of companies have an IT policy relating to social media and personal Internet usage which is adhered to, but 33 percent either have a policy that is ignored, or do not have a policy at all, the survey added.

Online banking and paying bills was a popular in-work-time activity, the poll added, with each office worker spending 11 days a year doing it; in addition to six days a year spent online at work researching and booking holidays.

Sinead Bridgett, show director, The Office Exhibition said: “It’s well known that people in the UAE spend long hours in the office, but our survey has uncovered some fascinating facts about what actually happens during the working day. Whilst email now dominates official communications, people still want to spend time chatting with colleagues about non-work related issues.

“The majority of companies have IT policies in place regarding social networking and internet use, but almost a third do not, and this is something we would encourage them to look at as a significant number of days a year are spent on these activities at work.”

The Office Exhibition is due to take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from February 9-11, and will feature 250 companies.

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hamidtx 10 years ago

Staff are not machines to work 100% of time. They must feel happy and satisfied at work, so they should socialize and have frequent physical or mental breaks. It's only normal. Time spent should not be called "wasted" time. Happy employees are productive and creative employees. They do better job when working and remain longer with the company, reducing overhead and training cost. The goal must be to make sure the employees perform all his/her duties in timely and efficient manner.

Fahad Faysal 10 years ago

I agree with Hamidtx .. Why should you call it Wasted Time .. Happy employees will give more to their work and more the Loyalty of the Oraginisation.Accountability should be based on deliverables and not accounting the hours spent when he wasnt doing waht you as a manager dont know exactly what was supposed to be done at the certian given time.The deliverables get to be done on te deadlines wit efficiency then the Empoyer should be happy on the end results.Accounting for each and every step of the empoyee and acting as a watchdog wouldnt make the employee super active or happy at the end.Closing down of FB and Youtube at work dont help that much.Youtube for example can assist greatly in employee day today tasks.So for the better of teh Organisation lete the empoyee have free of movement with imits and accutbaility with the delivery of the requirements with super results.

Jay 10 years ago

Agreed 100% with Hamidtx, As long as work is done with quality and on time, why should someone cares about so called Wasted time? Try to squeeze this time and you will see the efficiency of employees will drop by a high percentage.

Slim Dusty 10 years ago

Obviously this story was writen by a smoker because they waste another 46 days a year gossiping over a fag 10 times a day on top of having coffee and tea breaks. The young office workers these days think work is another opportunity to surf Face Book and Tweet about trivial rubbish. Poor them if they have to work and get their hands dirty for once in their life to actually earn the salary they bring home each month. We best leave them to their 46 days of "Me" time or else they will get upset and I dont want tears on my hands.

Hellen 10 years ago

The phrase speaks for itself. It has been scientifically proven that people who take small breaks during working hours are more productive than those who work for straight long hours. The brain needs to relax in order to function properly. And especiallly with the hot climatic conditions in the middle east, people tend to wear out quickly so we need to divert our attention to something else to keep awake. What good would it be to an employer if the employees work straight long hours and not deliver. Rather work short hours and deliver. Also when browsing the net, people tend to get alot of useful information which can be of benefit to the company too. When rules are created in any kind of situation that is when people break them so employees deserve their freedom in any field of work.

Dan 10 years ago

This is something common in all countries. As others have mentioned people are not machines and can’t perform 100% of the time. The goal is to get the job done. You can improve efficiency by implementing new ways of working or technology. I guess Slim Dusty never takes a coffee break or rest from work and is one of the few that actually earns his salary as opposed to the smokers. I’ve seen some people come very early and go late just to show they are hard workers (we call them statues) but in reality they are very poor in delivering any results. I don’t know how many of these statues turned to be my enemies because they couldn’t stand how I could deliver 3 times more then them despite having so many smoking and coffee breaks.

The Pundit 10 years ago

Yep, that's me laughing at all the folks who talk about the "Dull Jack" and how important surfing the net is. 1. Recreational use of the internet is not what employers pay their employees to do. Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and the like have little if any value in the workplace and, when needed, can be provided on case by case basis. They should NOT be provided willy-nilly to all employees. Same can be said of MSN, Google Chat, AIM, and the like. 2. Recreational use of the internet is a huge financial burden on a company, whether from lost work hours, increased data consumption rates, data theft, and more. Most employees don't consider these costs when they don't have the access they want (or think they deserve). 3. While none of our employees is allowed to smoke during working hours, we do not begrudge our workers their tea or coffee or soft drink. 4. One of our company motto's is "If you have nothing to do, don't do it here". Simply put, if your work is done / targets met then go home, even if it is early in the day. Soon enough I will need / ask you to work extra hours....and at that time I sure hope you don't complain about having to stay an extra hour or two. And, btw, I don't know who says that Dubai workers work long hours. Some may (blue collar mostly) but my experience is that most office workers are out the door seconds after their work day ends. In fact, don't stand in front of the door at day's end...you'll get trampled in the rush. So, for all those spouting off about Jack being dull, try looking at this from the other side...that of the employer who is having to pay for all these breaks.

Naive 10 years ago

pls donot bother about these surveys as long as your planned work is done in time with efficiency.this is what matters to all the bosses end of the day, rest,surveys are time waste & nothing much is achived based on this

Sarika 10 years ago

The sample size of 1,000 office workers seems too bleak to produce a survey report such as this one. Considering larger offices of say, 250 staff, the survey is a product of coverage to mere 4 offices. Covering the smaller ones would not let one achieve the analysis published with more one to one knowledge of the work progress accountability. While defining the margins of time for oneself at work, it should also analyze the scenario of work after working hours; I guess not all hunt for the door after close of business (COB). The percentage of people in an office undertaking such activities should have been explicitly spelled rather than generalizing the statement.

Ali 10 years ago

I have read surveys and read about surveys, some are good and some are just a waste of time. This survey is just a complete waste of time. Whoever initiated this survey should have kept in mind how many minutes people will waste while reading about this conclusion. I ask you to be beneficial while thinking of surveys in the future. Also, why was this survey conducted in the UAE? Is it not normal to have a coffee break anywhere in the world?