Workers Report Less Wasted Time than a Year Ago

August 7, 2006 ( - estimates that employers spend $544 billion per year on salaries for time spent wasted, down from last year's estimation of $759 billion.

This year’s research from and America Online (AOL) finds that American workers report they spend 1.86 hours a day goofing off at work, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press. Workers reported wasting an average 2.09 hours in last year’s survey (See Employers Pay Billions for Wasted Work Time ).

However, does not attribute the decrease to increased productivity of workers. “I think it shows a trend that the lines are getting blurred between what’s wasted time and what’s acceptable,” said Lena Bottos, director of compensation at, in the news report. “Is it wasted time if you spend 20 minutes looking for a baby sitter because you had to work late? Is it wasted time if you’re figuring out your 401(k) – something that’s provided by your company and could be considered work-related?”

The survey also found that companies assume a certain amount of wasted time when calculating employee compensation and that employees are wasting about twice as much time as their employers assume.

Other recent surveys reveal employers are cracking down on wasted time, especially in the form of internet usage (See Employers Tightening Controls on Employees’ At-Work Computer Use ).