Wasting time at work? Join the club!

You might think that, with a recession going on, people would be likely to work harder. After all, jobs just aren't as plentiful as they were a year ago, and it seems like this would be a good time to knuckle down, put your nose to the grindstone, and give it your all.

Have you ever noticed how many work-related cliches there are?

At any rate, you would be wrong; in point of fact, the recession actually seems to be reducing productivity. According to a recent survey by Leadership IQ, a Washington DC-based business consulting firm, employees are wasting 44% more time than they were a year ago. The study queried 6,000 workers and discovered that, by their own admission, employees are currently goofing off for about 25% of their work day. The slowing economy and depressed job market seems to be imbuing workers with an increased sense of lassitude and is actually reducing their dedication to their jobs.

Another interesting thing that the study revealed is the changing face of time wastage. In February 2007, the top five time wasters were shopping on the internet (17%), surfing the internet for entertainment (15%), writing and answering e-mail (10%), chatting with co-workers (9%) and daydreaming (9%). This February, on the other hand, the top five time wasters were surfing the Internet for career improvement (21%), surfing the internet for personal finance (17%), worrying about various problems (12%), chatting with co-workers (9%), and surfing the internet for entertainment (7%).

I work for an internet site that focuses on personal finance and occasionally delves into career improvement, so I have to admit that I'm not too depressed about the changing face of office time wastage. On the other hand, I have to believe that this all-encompassing fear of failure can't be a good thing, either for the economy or the workers in it. For that matter, the sharply dropping numbers of internet shoppers and entertainment surfers is a pretty bleak indicator of the current state of the economy.

Is it odd for me to find myself wishing for the happy, wasteful days of yesteryear instead of the depressed, even-more-wasteful days of tomorrow?

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. Luckily, this survey didn't include him, as he would have definitely skewed the results. Websudoku, anyone?
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