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Time-Wasters by Industry: What Are Some Employees Doing Besides Surfing the Internet?

Surfing the internet may be a common way for employees to waste time at work, but it’s not the only way. Two thousand people “fessed up” — see what they said!

Surfing the internet may be the most common way employees waste time at work — but it's far from the only way. Paychex asked 2,000 people to "'fess up" about how they fritter away their time during a seemingly endless workday.

Their responses varied greatly based on their industry. People in nine fields (including arts, entertainment, and recreation; marketing and advertising; and legal) cited their cell phone as the top time-waster, whether they text, play games, or surf the internet. Employees in another nine industries (including education, scientific, and telecommunications) preferred to do their chatting – and gossiping—in person.

Workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries say long meal breaks are what most often takes them away from work. And in two industries, the top time-wasters are technically work-related: Real estate professionals say emailing drains their time, while tech professionals feel that they waste time in meetings. Lost productivity from factors like these is a pressing issue for many employers. However, for hardworking employees, a quick walk, a chat, or simply a moment to relax can actually increase productivity — as long as they don't go overboard.

The biggest time-wasters by industry besides surfing the internet.

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