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Why Do Some Employees Waste Time at Work?

Human Resources

Why do some employees waste time during the workday? Paychex asked 2,000 workers to come clean about what prompts them to goof off rather than stay on task. Issues with the work itself are a commonly cited factor. Amazingly, over one-fifth of our respondents say a lack of work is the primary reason for slacking, while almost 15% say it's because they're dissatisfied or bored with the work. Nearly 14% say their long work hours prompt them to waste time, and over 11% say they simply don't have enough incentive to focus on work all the time.

More serious grievances comprised a smaller proportion of the reasons for wasting time: Only 7% claimed to waste time due to a co-worker/boss issue, just over 3% do so because of low pay, and fewer than 2% do so due to a lack of time off. From the "It's-Not-You-It's-Me" department, nearly one-fifth of respondents confessed they're just easily distracted (look – a cat video!), and almost 7% say they're sleep-deprived or stressed. Based on our survey, it looks like many employees might stay on-task longer if they had more work, greater challenges, stronger incentives, and shorter work hours.


Graphical representation of the reasons why employees waste time at work.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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