Comedy Central

This Is How Much Time You're Wasting At Work Every Day

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A new study determined how much time the average US worker wastes on the job, and the results are refreshingly realistic.

Economists Michael Burda, Katie Genadek and Daniel Hamermesh based their findings on self-reported data regarding how much time workers believe they spend not working during a given work day.

The researchers learned for the average worker, just 34 minutes of the day are spent on non-work activities, according to New York magazine.

If this figure seems a little ridiculous, it's because it was calculated with ridiculous self-reports. Some workers claimed to devote the entire day to work, reporting wasting zero minutes slacking off.

That sounded rather unlikely to the researchers, so they made another calculation for the average excluding all those zeroes.  This result was much more logical: 50 minutes of slacking for the average worker.

Workers said they spent about half of this time eating and the other on leisure activities, though it's not clear what comprises this latter type of behavior.

Perhaps the most interesting discovery was the workers who had the longest work weeks appeared to spend the least amount of time not working.  Beginning at about 42 hours a week, slacking off decreased as work hours increased.

This data was collected from 2003 to 2012, meaning it consists of reports given during the economic recession, which, the researchers noted, affected slacking.

For that reason, if the data was collected in a different time frame, the average amount of time spent not working might be significantly higher.

Workers may also, however, be spending more time not working than usual due to the relief of being able to slack off at work after surviving the recession.

But regardless of the reason, there's arguably nothing wrong with spending an hour or more not working in a day.

Previous research found working for over four and a half consecutive hours actually hurt productivity. Breaks are reportedly so good for productivity experts suggested devoting 17 minutes to fun for every 52 minutes spent on work.

Those of you with eight-hour days can put this theory to the test by slacking off for at least an hour each day.

Citations: Researchers Have Calculated How Much Time We Spend Slacking Off at Work (New York magazine), Not Working at Work: Loafing, Unemployment and Labor Productivity (The National Bureau of Economic Research)