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A Study On Time Wasted At Work 324

Posted by Zonk
from the please-don't-stop-coming-here dept.
Animesh Pathak writes "C|Net News has an article about a survey of people's goofing off habits at work. From the article: 'It's interesting to note that the Internet was cited as the leading time-wasting activity. It goes to show how integrated it has become to the daily functions of our personal and professional lives,...Today, there are so many useful tools and Web sites on the Internet that have enabled people to become more efficient with accomplishing multiple tasks in a shorter amount of time.'"
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A Study On Time Wasted At Work

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  • Standby Periods (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fembots (753724) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:23PM (#13047396) Homepage
    The article did mention that not all waste is pure waste, as they could spark new ideas, and it's also likely to introduce ice-breaking topics so that everybody can sit together and chat about something in common.

    Nowadays companies expect employees to be available from 7.30am to 6.30pm, but these employees aren't actually required all the time, the boss just wants you to be there so that when he needs you, he can find you.

    The article mentions insurance industry is the worst, but what do they expect insurance call centre staff to do when nobody calls in?

    Maybe start cold-calling: "Good morning Mr Anderson, this is Smith from Surely Insurance, we're wondering if you have a car accident today?"

    So I normally treat non-productive time as time-out or standby periods for employees, they're getting paid to provide continuous service availability throughout the day.
    • by centauri (217890) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:29PM (#13047490) Homepage
      "Good morning Mr Anderson, this is Smith from Surely Insurance, we're wondering if you're having a car accident today...."

      Imagine Hugo Weaving speaking this to you over the phone as you drive home from work and give yourself a nice shiver.
    • by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:31PM (#13047517) Homepage
      I would formulate a clever and insightful reply to your post, but I should really get back to work.
    • Re:Standby Periods (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nos. (179609) <<andrew> <at> <thekerrs.ca>> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:34PM (#13047550) Homepage

      They even say that roughly 1/3 or respondants say they "waste" this time because they have don't have enough work.

      Near the bottom of the salary.com article is this little blurb:
      Populations surveyed included AOL users, Salary.com Salary Wizard users and corporate human resource professionals

      So, a good portion of the surveyed group are visitors to salary.com. I would guess that a majority of people visiting salary.com are at least somewhat unhappy with their job. I don't think I would consider they're numbers worth anything. Its like asking people coming out of a theatre if they're willing to pay current admission prices to see a movie.

      • Re:Standby Periods (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @07:51PM (#13048901)
        Your post is insightfull, but for me not havving enough work happens every month. You see I work in accounting, and at month end and the start of the month we are slammed with work. On the other hand, from the 22nd to the 28th the office dead. We will get our back filing done, and prep work done for the next month but when that runs out it's time for slashdot!
      • Re:Standby Periods (Score:5, Interesting)

        by soliptic (665417) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @07:59PM (#13048980) Journal
        Yeah damn straight.

        My last job began being hired as a temp when a previous guy left. They had 6 months funding for the temping post, so they said: in these 6 months, please streamline and automate all tasks so that by the time you leave, we don't need to hire a replacement.

        So that's what I did.

        And at the end of the six months, they said: hey, you're fitting in pretty well, do you want a permanent full-time position on 150% of the pay you had as a temp?

        I said, "sure". Obviously, by that point, I had reduced the workload of the post to about 2 hours per week, like they asked me to in the first place, but if they're too stupid to notice, that's really not my problem. So I took the job. At first I was keen, and tried to make up the "missing" workload by coming up with new ideas - but after several times where these ideas just got taken into endless meetings with no outcome whatsoever, I pretty soon had that enthusiasm ground out of me.

        Instead, I just pocketed the money, and spent 80% of the last year on the internet. Of course, I got all my work done, so my boss thought I was a great employee. Now I've left and they're looking for a replacement.

        The real irony? This place is a business school, which boasts about having experts in "Strategic Human Resource Development". But they're still too f*cking dense to notice when they hire people for jobs they explicitly told people to render unnecessary.

        Frankly, I have no idea why posts like this [slashdot.org] are moderated funny, and this [slashdot.org] is moderated 3, interesting. Both should be 5, insightful imho.

        Work is, for the vast majority of the population, a stupid, pointless clock-watching waste of their life.

    • The article did mention that not all waste is pure waste, as they could spark new ideas,

      I suspect half the trolls are going to make jokes about slashdot being a waste of time.

      I wish my previous CFO would spend more time on slashdot, and perhaps we'd have done far fewer stupid things like maintaining an unmaintainable mess of microsoft components and forcing them on our customers.

      Slashdot, beyond the way the trolls word things, is a great place to find best-practices for the IT world.

    • Re:Standby Periods (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rwven (663186)
      Honestly, in todays way of thinking/working, sometimes the only thing i can do to keep from going nuts is to take some time and just do nothing with it. Other countries think the US is nuts for working as much as they do... Work + no vacation = burnout... I usually spend a good hour or so a day looking around /. and other tech news, reading reviews, etc... It's about all that keeps me sane sometimes...
    • Could anyone post some links to effectively waste my time at work? I'm kind of getting bored of /., dilbert, thinkgeek, cnn, the onion, etc...
    • Re:Standby Periods (Score:2, Insightful)

      by newend (796893)
      I'd question how good of a sample salary.com has. I imagine anyone who's already surfing to a website to take a survey is likely to spend more time surfing anyway. There is no mention of the confidence interval or any other important statistical information.
    • by Chagatai (524580) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @06:27PM (#13048118) Homepage
      Keep in mind that studies over the past hundred years have shown that the 40-hour workweek is optimal for productivity. When workers are now putting in an average of 50 hours per week, with even lower productivity because of those excess hours, I would argue that the "wasted" time during the week is actually increasing productivity, if anything. And like other posters have said, this "wasted" time is often intermingled with productive work. For instance, I am in a class after having finished a lab right now.

      • by flithm (756019) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @08:16PM (#13049112) Homepage
        I personally have never seen a study been done that suggested a 40 hour work week is optimal for productivity. I would like to see some sources please.

        Even if a study were to exist, you have to take into context the nature of the study. For example, to which end is the productivity rated? Is this the productivity of individual workers on a scale of work done per time unit, or is it some ratio esitimator of productivity per dollar spent, because they're quite different.

        Having said that, I do agree with you. Making workers work more hours can definitely lower overall productivity.

        France has enacted a law [wikipedia.org] dicatating that 35 hours is the maximum time one should spend working in a week.

        While they intended the law to promote hiring new employees, they found that companies resisted and instead demanded higher time unit production quotas. Indeed an interesting result.

        Note that our average work week has been shortening [wikipedia.org] since the 13th century.

        This is definitely a good thing, although I still don't think it's enough. USA and Canada are still pretty high on the list [wikipedia.org] of time spent at work.

        Paul Lafargue's Right to be Lazy [marxists.org] (1883) suggests an optimal workday of 2 to 3 hours per day.

        Nearly all pre-modernized tribes peoples live with a considerably shorter work week. The Kalahari Bushmen, for example, work on average 12-20 hours per week.

        Now the Bushment also don't have TV, computers, cars, planes, etc. But then again they don't have Guns, or Heroine either. And I suspect if a study were done on their happiness or contentment in life, it would probably rate _much_ higher than the average North American.

        I'm not saying we should trade it all in for the life of a Bushman, but there has to be a balance. We've got the highest rates of mental disease in the world, we lock up more of our people and spend more money on incarceration per person than a lot of the countries in the world combined.

        If we were really getting paid for the service of being available at work, even while we're not being productive, then we wouldn't feel guilty when we get caught reading slashdot. We wouldn't immediately switch away from minesweeper when we see the boss walking down the hall.

        The workplace makes us feel like we should be productive even though there are many times when productivity is simply not going to happen.

        We're tied to this 40 hour work week (which is often much higher) that forces us into a schedule that minimizes our ability to have any serious daily enjoyment beyond the workplace.

        Many of us commute. After an 8 hour day and a commute, doing the daily chores, there's little time to reflect, ponder, play a game of whatever with friends.

        We've been pushed into complacency and we all sit back and take it. We're a society that by enlarge lives for the weekend. I really don't consider this an optimal solution by any stretch.
        • Bingo ! You got to the point. Where I work at, we have flex time. I try to do my scehdule to where I work a 12 hour day on Monday, a 10 hour day on Tue, 8 on Wed, 6 on Thu and 4 on Friday. With flex time, I get in pretty early so I can leave mid-afternoon and do some things such as bike ride after work. A lot of times, it doesn't work out since our East Coast counterparts who live to work always have these last minute demands on Thu or Fri and expect us in Colorado to drop everything for their whims.

          I wo
    • Re:Standby Periods (Score:2, Informative)

      by drsquare (530038)
      I'm not exactly famed for my work-ethic, so here are a few of my favourite ways to waste time at work:

      1. Sleeping. Pretty obvious. Just go to the canteen, or some obscure place, and have a good kip. Works best when the machines are down on a night shift when no-one gives a shit. Make sure it's somewhere really obscure so you can't be accidently found. This only works if your job isn't one which is important.

      2. Sweeping. Just get a brush, and pretend to be sweeping up. You can stand about with it, and it l
    • by Aphoric (808093)
      I am reading this at work, I have not read the article, do they mention /. specifically?
  • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by building_970 (890222) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:23PM (#13047399)
    I find this story deeply ironic. Only two hours until I can leave this place...
    • by geeber (520231)
      I find this story deeply ironic. Only two hours until I can leave this place...

      In that case, you should spend some of your waste time at work looking up the definition of irony [reference.com].
  • by Crudely_Indecent (739699) * on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:24PM (#13047401) Journal
    Wasting time on the Internet at work...what...like reading Slashdot? The powers that be will never catch me doing such a thing...

    Oh shit, here comes the boss....

    +++ATH
    NO CARRIER
  • by 808paulson (852724) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:24PM (#13047403)
    All I need to do is just walk around the office.
  • Time waster (Score:5, Funny)

    by Reducer2001 (197985) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:24PM (#13047408) Homepage
    And here I am, still at work, posting on Slashdot....
    • Perhaps the most ironic story ever. "Waste of time" posted on slashdot. If I could have every minute of my life back that I've wasted on ./, I would be 10 again!
  • by Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:24PM (#13047410)
    Just who is the target audience for this? Whip-wielding managers who flay anyone not fast enough on Alt-Tab?
  • Survey idea (Score:4, Funny)

    by einhverfr (238914) <chris.travers@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:25PM (#13047417) Homepage Journal
    How much time do you waste at work reading Slashdot?

    * 1hr/week
    * 1hr/day
    * 2hrs/day
    * 3hrs/day
    * I don't read slashdot you insensitive clod (then what are you doing selecting this one)
    * CowboyNeal
  • I would never ... aw, dammit.

    Cheers,
    IT
  • by horsie (91009)
    Ya think?
  • Initech (Score:5, Funny)

    by iamzack (830561) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:26PM (#13047451)
    I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.
  • but I was too busy playing Internet Scrabble.
  • by soma_0806 (893202) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:31PM (#13047514)

    Come on, in this day and age a "scientific" study cannot possibly think it's going to say anything meaningful about wasting time at work if it considers "the internet" as one thing. Clearly, it needs to be subcategorized into meaningful elements. Maybe something like webmailers, on-line magazines, interactive discussion groups, etc. That way the researchers could seperate the waste from the worthy.

    I mean, to study people wasting time on the internet is tantamount to studying people wasting time on computers.

    AC
  • Butt location. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jaywalk (94910) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:32PM (#13047521) Homepage
    The internet also allows multitasking "wasted" and "productive" time because it's the only activity that keeps your butt firmly lodged in it's seat. I can check news or stock reports while waiting for that email to come back or for a compile to complete. If I actually got up and did something else, I wouldn't know when those things actually finished.

    Would it save my employer anything for me to be staring at the blank screen instead?

    • Re:Butt location. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gmletzkojr (768460)
      Sadly, some employers do prefer that you stare at a blank screen. The company I work for (when I was in the home office) would not allow people to read a magazine or a book when compiling - even if it is a programming magazine/book.

      "Dr. Dobbs? I don't think so - you're not in the medical profession anyway!"

      BTW, that company is not the same as the one listed in my URL.
  • by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo.LISPcom minus language> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:32PM (#13047522) Journal
    with my slashdot addiction.

    Please, someone make me stop. It's taking up all my time. I've started writing songs about it, so when I lose my job and am out on the street I'll have something to sing while I panhandle.

    This is a lot harder to kick than nicotene, crack, heroin, alcohol, meth, overeating, bulemia, and necrophilia were.
  • Wow, people use the internet to waste time at work? Tell me something I don't know. This is as obvious as "the number one item ingested by humans is drink, followed closely by food."

    Does the article mention what the internet is being used for? Does the article link to the report?
  • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:34PM (#13047551) Journal
    I'd possibly do more in a given day, but I'd also be much less informed. Quite a few purchase decisions, new technology concepts, and water-cooler-conferences are based around news/ideas I pick up on the net...

    And to go a bit further, without forums, reference sites, online howto's, and last-but-not-least the almighty google I'd would be nearly as efficient as I am at work... having a server bork with mysterious driver issues is quite often solved with part inuition/experience and part googling the error messages...
    • For those in a technical area, I totally agree. There's a BIG difference between using the Internet to learn of the latest I.T. trends and products/services, and trading jokes around in email.

      What scares me most about these types of studies is middle management will grab ahold of them, using them as justification for cracking down on ALL internet usage - without considering the consequences.

      Already, we've seen the law offices and accounting firms that slap legal "disclaimers" on the end of every outgoing
  • by tont0r (868535) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:35PM (#13047557)
    sit down and sign in ASAP read email
    read slashdot
    read news
    rews world of warcraft forums
    talk to co workers
    check slashdot for new articles
    attempt to hope i can come up with a witty response to an article...
    then.. do work?
    ps
    someone came up to me while i was typing this (im at work now) and read it. wonder what they thought of it. hehe.
    • Dude, the boss is coming! Quick, take a call! (your neighbor in Cube-Farm Hell)
    • Bob: You see, what we're trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work so if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?

      Peter: Yeah.

      Bob: Great.

      Peter: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.

      Bob: Da-uh? Space out?

      Peter: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I

  • by Ronald Dumsfeld (723277) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:35PM (#13047562)
    I remember as a child being promised in TV programs about the future a shorter working week, increased leisure time, and robots and computers doing more of the work.

    Instead I'm expected to be available 12 hours out of 24 instead of 8. So, when the machine is doing the job for me, or I need to take a break from a problem and come back fresh, why the hell shouldn't I goof off on the Internet. My parents' generation did it with newspapers - even if they had to lock themselves in the toilet to do so.
  • I find this very hard to believe, as I contribute to my 2.09 hours of alloted goof off time according to this study.
    • Oh, they were trumpeting the sum of $750,000,000,000 as the loss to our economy from wasting time at the watercooler or surfing /. at work. I spend much of my time in a standby mode as an onsite service tech, and the customer couldn't be happier when I am curled up to a good game of Tetris while the equipment I maintain is running smoothly, pumping out the work. It is when I am running around frantically from one machine to another or looking for parts, or working late into the evening struggling with a do
  • by ISaidItOmega (792820) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:36PM (#13047575)
    ... that feels like this study is stupid? From TFA:

    Through a Web survey involving more than 10,000 employees, the report found that personal Internet surfing ranked as the top method of cooling one's heels at work.

    Gee, most people on a web survey spend their personal time on the Internet. Thats like going to to a Red Sox game and surveying people on what their favorite sport is! I'll post again in a few, but for right now, I'm going to go to a strip club and survey people on womens' rights.

  • by grungebox (578982) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:42PM (#13047659) Homepage
    Just open up about 10 important sites on different tabs (in my case, PDF's of different Phys Rev or Nano Letters papers), open whatever you're surfing on the 11th tab, say arstechnica^H^H^Hslashdot. Boss comes by, just flick your mouse to the tab bar and quickly scroll the mouse wheel some. You have a 10/11 chance of landing on a work-related site. It's like playing Russian Roulette, sort of, except in the US. OTOH, in Soviet Russia, Russian Roulette plays...never mind.
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:43PM (#13047663)
    Some years back in my small business I put a PC on the desk of my receptionist, around 1996 I think.
    She was *supposed* to use it to do my accounting..
    I didn't put it on the Internet, though she begged for it, because I wasn't about to add another phoneline for something I didn't consider important.

    Rather than doing my accounting, she spent 98% of her time playing solitaire.. Nothing pissed me off worse than to walk in and see her clicking away at that frigging retarded game while on the clock.
    I was paying her to play games and have a good time.
    So I went in after closing and deleted the damn games.
    She whined and cried about it, I told her the computer crashed and they were "eaten up"..
    She managed to click around and find some other BS game to play, which I also deleted.
    Again, more whining.
    I then told her she was paid to work, not play games.
    She said she could do her job in 45 minutes and that the rest of the day there was nothing else to do.
    I would have fired her if I hadn't needed her to answer the phones and dispatch jobs. That and she was my cousins wife.. (don't hire relatives.....)
    She told me if I didn't put the games back on she would quit.

    Finally, cell phone service came to our area, (yes, we were very backwards here) and I fired her, took the computer home, cut 4 of my land lines and forwarded them all to my cell phone.

    I know this won't work for most people, it's just my experience with employees wasting MY time and MY money...

    • by _RidG_ (603552) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:55PM (#13047792)
      That's absolutely ridiculous, provided that it was indeed the case that her work only took up 45 minutes of the day. Could you reasonably expect a sane person to sit at his / her desk five days a week, 8 hours every day, and do absolutely nothing for 7 hours and 15 minutes at a time?

      I don't quite understand this logic. You are paying her to do her job, i.e. answer phones and do accounting. As long as that condition is satisfied, let her be. Your employees are people too, though by the hostile tone displayed throughout your post, it seems that there is certainly some bad blood there.

    • She said she could do her job in 45 minutes and that the rest of the day there was nothing else to do.

      Finally, cell phone service came to our area, (yes, we were very backwards here) and I fired her, took the computer home, cut 4 of my land lines and forwarded them all to my cell phone.

      So basically the job could be done in 45 minutes... Why did you ever hire someone you didn't need?
      • So basically the job could be done in 45 minutes... Why did you ever hire someone you didn't need?

        It's because GP didn't want to do 45 minutes worth of work, duh. :-)

      • She CLAIMED the accounting could be done in 45 minutes. I did not believe that.
        As for answering phones, there was an average of 20 phone calls and hour and those involved maybe 4 dispatches per day to work crews.

        SOMEONE had to be there to answer the phones, people hang up on answering machines, fact.
        And hang ups = lost business.

        The real pisser was that she was more interested in playing the games than answering the phones, dispatching or doing the accounting.
        When I walked in, she was hypnotized by the st
    • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @06:03PM (#13047876)
      If the real reason you kept her around all day (as opposed to having her come in, do the work, and clock out) is so she could answer phones, why's it her fault that she didn't have other tasks to do after the 45 minutes of accounting work?

      The way you make it sound is that she literally had no other tasks to perform (if this isn't hte case *please* correct me as it changes your story completely) --so what would you have had her do? start shampooing the carpet or something like that?
    • That sounds like bad management to me.

      If any of my people complained that they could do their work in 45 minutes, I'd find them at least 6 more hours of duties to do. You know, given that we expect them to waste at least one and all.

      If I couldn't find them more work to do, I'd probably reconsider why I had them staffed in the first place. If ultimately it was determined that they are neccesary as an on call basis, I'd let them do whatever the want as long as they completed the obligations *I* gave th

    • The sysadmin at my office is almost constantly making life difficult by reconfiguring permissions on directories I'm trying to serve web documents from, or just moving my home directory altogether, or removing my ability to restart my development webserver. It drives me crazy.

      I'm glad he wastes an hour or two every day browsing random websites and chatting to his friends on MSN Messenger. It means I can actually get some work done! (Of course, when he's broken something for the nth time it does give me a h

  • by ArielMT (757715) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:43PM (#13047666) Homepage Journal
    You never know who else is wasting time at work: http://bash.org/?258908 [bash.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    My employer encourages us to use the Internet. I can even read Slashdot freely, because it means that I stay up to date of what's going on in IT business. My boss says it's important part of my job. I'm a Unix system administrator.
  • ...that the sort of people who get upset about surveys like this are exactly the same people who want you to work evenings and weekends without compensation/overtime?

    My favourite of recent times was having worked 5 weekends in a row or something, I wanted to work from home one day because I was getting a new PC delivered (I had no holiday allowance left). You wouldn't believe the excuses that came out as to why that couldn't happen.

    ("Well, what if everyone wanted to do that?")
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:53PM (#13047764) Homepage Journal
    It is what you do with the time you dedicate to your job. My employer whats certain things done. I have timelines. As long as I meet or exceed those timelines they are more than happy.

    Yes it has been commented that I surf a lot. However to have your VP rebut that comment with praise for the quality and consistency of your work does say that some people do get it.

    Hell there are people not making calls or surfing that waste more of a companies time just by being there. I cannot tally the number of hours spent doing something someone else supposedly did. I cannot tally the hours spent on some high level persons personal directive that only was tossed at a later date.

  • by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:54PM (#13047778) Homepage
    Ben174 : If they only realized 90% of the overtime they pay me is only cause i like staying here playing with Kazaa when the bandwidth picks up after hours.
    ChrisLMB : If any of my employees did that they'd be fired instantly.
    Ben174 : Where u work?
    ChrisLMB : I'm the CTO at LowerMyBills.com
    *** Ben174 (BenWright@TeraPro33-41.LowerMyBills.com) Quit (Leaving)

    http://www.bash.org/?258908/ [bash.org]

  • by airship (242862) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:54PM (#13047781) Homepage
    I just had my annual review, and one of the things my boss ranked me high on was 'being informed' and 'proactively seeking solutions'. He was most impressed with the fact that I found, downloaded, and provided lots of Oracle technical information just an hour after we had decided to evaluate Oracle as a vendor. I also got high points for 'taking the lead' in learning about business rules and use cases and presenting that information to our team. Guess where I got all my information? Since the development project we worked on all year went belly up a couple of months ago, frankly cruising the 'net was the only thing I did all year that got me points in my evaluation. So which time was actually wasted? the hundreds of hours I spent on a project that was scrapped, or the time I spent on the 'net that got me bonus points with the boss?
    Go figure.
    • I don't think your anecdote counts. The article isn't saying: All time on the internet is wasted time. Afterall, business don't equip thier employees with the internet so they can slack off. No, it has practical business purposes. Business purposes that you've just demonstrated. What you just described would not be classified as "slacking off". Instead, we call that "research".

  • "The Internet" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:54PM (#13047783) Homepage
    I am still somewhat amazed that people fail to see "The Internet" for what it is -- a communications medium.

    I use Television, Telephone, Radio, Cell phone, FAX, Newspapers and even the U.S. Postal service. None of these things are thought to be remarkable, ground-breaking or otherwise remarkable media. They aren't new but they are certainly very well integrated into the way we do business.

    People are, instead, distracted by the newness and novelty of the applications that use the internet medium. We all know how people think "the web" == "the internet" and how wrong that is. So here again, we're talking about how the internet is changing the way we do business. It is and it isn't. We have a new medium with which we exchange information. In some ways it's superior to existing media and in other ways it's not. As the dust settles, people will use the medium that works best for their use. The Net obsoletes nothing specifically.
  • by Radical Rad (138892) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @05:58PM (#13047817) Homepage
    I could be playing golf and working on my novel!
  • Let's see...
    Almost 4 -weeks- lost to a new project management methodology.
    Much of it literally just sitting at the desk after secretly finishing the work but not being allowed to check it in to the code bases.
    Then there are the documents -- about 8 hours a week on documents put on a hard drive and -never ever- looked at again (except 1% by auditors to confirm we did those useless documents).
    I remember what it was like to be productive but I'm so hamstrung by red tape it is hard to get in that mode an
  • Longer Days (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    TFA says that work days are getting longer because people are wasting more time. That's a load of crap. I "waste" time because of the long hours. I'm not mentally capable of coding 100% 24/7. The reality is that there are a limited # of hours in the day that I can effectively develope in. If you tell me I have to be here, I'll just sit and read slashdot. If I could leave the office without management frowning on a less than 40 hour week then I could just do an 8-4 every day and I would not *have* to sl
  • by dr7greenthumb (752231) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @06:14PM (#13048010)
    I can identify my boss's footsteps in a high traffic area at least 20 yards away to trigger an Alt-Tab.
  • Peter: I generally come in at least 15 minutes late. I use the side door, that way Lumbergh can't see me. And after that I just sorta space out for about an hour.

    Bob: Space out?

    Peter: Yeah I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too. I'd say in a given week I probably only do about 15 minutes of real, actual work.

  • Smoke breaks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the-matt-mobile (621817) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @06:30PM (#13048139)
    I'm amazed that there's no mention of smoking in the article at all. I wonder if it was even considered. Our workplace, like many others recently, has gone smoke free which means all the smokers are likely to disappear for 1/2 hour or more 3-4 times a day to get off the grounds to have a smoke. Some even get around the "no smoking on any company property" rule by standing in the street. It may not be the number one time waster, but it'd got to be up there.
  • Get a chess clock... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bazman (4849) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @06:47PM (#13048286) Journal
    A friend of mine had a chess clock and labelled the two clocks 'work' and 'doss' (slang for not work). Whenever he was busy proving theorems, running statistical models, the 'work' clock was running. If you went into his office and asked him about the soccer game last night, he would hit the clock and 'doss' would start ticking.

    His days worked out with a 50:50 work-doss ratio!

    Baz
  • This isn't fair. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Eskimore_ (842733)
    I spend a lot of my day killing time. And I think I just got "that look" from the owner of the company who noticed I was surfing the web just now.

    But I'm a support technician. If I'm busy it means stuff is broken and other people can't do their job. And if that's more than 1 person it's probably costing the company more than it costs them to have me sitting around doing nothing. I'm like insurance: got to have it, but using it means you have bigger problems than paying the premiums.

    But I still feel

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Tuesday July 12, 2005 @07:45PM (#13048854) Homepage Journal
    A study on life wasted at work. Now that is some seriously scary shit, man, and I am not joking here.

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