US Workers: Over One-Third of Work Time is Not Productive

March 24, 2005 ( - US workers, who work an average of 45 hours a week, feel that 16 of those are unproductive.

The results of a Microsoft Office survey announced last week show that the US unproductive time average is one hour less than the world average of 17, small consolation for employers who might wish that they were getting more bang for their buck.

The most common reasons for unproductive work on the world stage are unclear objectives, lack of team communication and ineffective meetings, all chosen by 32% of survey respondents, according to a report by A lack of clear priorities (31%) and procrastination (29%) follow closely behind. Surprisingly, procrastination is ranked by 42% of workers in the US, with lack of team communication (39%) and ineffective meetings (34%) following behind.

Women might be better workers, it seems, with the survey giving them a productivity score of 72%, 1% ahead of their male counterparts. In the US, the figures are 70% and 68% respectively.

Meetings seem to take the brunt of the critique from survey respondents: the average worker spends 5.6 hours a week in meetings, and a large majority (69%) feels that they aren’t productive. This number is even higher in the US, at 71%.

Workers also complain about a lack of balance between work and life. Sixty percent claim they lack a work-life balance. This figure is higher in the US, with 66% stating that they lack such a balance.