Surfing the net, socializing biggest time-wasters at work: Survey

Meetings also a significant drain

Water cooler chatter and web surfing are the top time thieves at work, according to a survey of Canadian CFOs from Robert Half Management Resources.

Nearly one-third (29 per cent) of the 270 executives said chatting with co-workers is the greatest time-waster at work. Non-business related Internet use, including social media, ranked a not-too-distant second, garnering 25 per cent of the response.

"Building relationships with co-workers and colleagues is important for office morale, so socializing is acceptable within reason," said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources

"If there's a noticeable amount of time spent on non-work tasks, look for reasons why this could be happening. It could be a matter of too much or too little on employees' plates, or a dip in staff engagement. Monitor the distribution of projects to ensure the right amount of challenge and engagement across the board."

One in 10 CFOs said meetings drain significant time and the effect is most pronounced at larger companies — at companies with 1,000 or more employees, meetings received 26 per cent of the response, compared to nine per cent at firms with 20 to 49 workers.

"Which one of the following is the greatest time-waster at work for employees?"

Employees chatting and socializing


Non-business related Internet use (including social media)


Personal calls or emails


Work-related email




Other/don't know


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