Working Hard or Hardly Working?

Canadian Employees Waste Nearly One Day a Week on Non-Work Activities

Toronto, ON (July 19, 2017) — If you’ve ever felt like there’s not enough time in the work week, your cell phone and list of errands may be to blame. Canadian professionals surveyed by staffing firm OfficeTeam said they squander an average of 43 minutes per day, or the equivalent of more than three and a half hours a week, using their mobile device for non-work activities in the office. In contrast, senior managers estimate their staff members spend 32 minutes each day on their cell phones during business hours.

Workers also admitted to clocking 40 minutes a day on personal tasks. All in all, the average employee could be wasting nearly 7 hours per work week on activities unrelated to the job.

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How Much Time Workers Spend on Cell Phones and Personal Tasks

Minutes per day employees spend using their personal mobile devices for non-work activities: 43 — MORE THAN 3.5 HOURS PER WEEK!

Minutes per day managers think employees spend using their personal mobile devices: 32

What employees spend the most time when using their personal mobile devices at work:

Personal email 35% 10%
Social networks 23% 38%
Mobile games 6% 19%
Sports sites 5% 0%
Entertainment sites 3% 17%
Online shopping sites 2% 6%

According to workers, companies block access to the following websites:

Social networks 27%
Entertainment sites 19%
Online shopping sites 17%
Sports sites 13%
None of these 58%

35% of employees often use their personal devices at work to access websites that are blocked by their company.

60% of managers think it happens frequently.

(Respondents whose companies block access to websites)

Minutes per day employees spend attending to personal tasks during work hours: 40 — MORE THAN 3 HOURS PER WEEK!

Minutes per day managers think employees spend attending to personal tasks: 30

Source: OfficeTeam surveys of more than 400 workers and more than 300 senior managers in Canada. Top responses shown.

© 2017 OfficeTeam. A Robert Half Company.

Additional findings:

  • Employees ages 18 to 34 rack up 58 minutes a day on mobile devices and 52 minutes daily on activities unrelated to their jobs, the most of all age groups.
  • While 38 per cent of managers think staff spend the most time on social networks when using their own mobile devices during business hours, workers said they’re most occupied by personal email (35 per cent).
  • Workers reported social media (27 per cent) and entertainment web pages (19 per cent) are most commonly blocked at their companies. More than half of respondents (58 per cent) indicated their organization doesn’t restrict access to online content.
  • Respondents ages 55 and over most frequently check non-work email on their cell phones (45 per cent). Workers ages 18 to 34 are the group most likely to peruse social networks (29 per cent).
  • More than one-third of employees (35 per cent) often use their personal devices at work to visit pages that are banned by their company. Which may come as a surprise to 60 per cent of managers, who think it’s more common.
  • Forty-one per cent of male workers frequently use their cell phones to access blocked websites in the office, compared to 29 per cent of females.

“While managers recognize that staff will periodically need to check in on their life outside of work, employees should try to limit distractions from personal texts, emails or errands,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “To stay focused and productive, turn off the ringer of your mobile devices while working and instead use your breaks or lunch hour to catch up on personal matters

About the Research

The surveys of workers and senior managers were developed by OfficeTeam. They were conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 400 Canadian workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments, and more than 300 senior managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at for career and management advice.