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Little breaks every day are adding up to hours every week

2 minute read

Putting off starting a new project or taking a break in between meetings? Maybe check Instagram or Twitter.

A lot of workers are doing it, OfficeTeam says, and it’s impacting how much work they’re getting done throughout the day. In fact, workers spend an average of five hours a week on their phones doing nonwork things.

“It’s understandable that employees may occasionally use their mobile devices or attend to personal tasks during business hours. But these activities can easily become big distractions,” says Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “To best manage their time, staff can take advantage of breaks during lunch and throughout the day to catch up on nonwork email or errands.”

Overall, employees are wasting almost an hour a day getting paid to do nonwork things. But managers think their employees are only wasting 39 minutes a day. Maybe that guess comes from their own personal phone time?

Those millennials are at it again

Workers 18-34 spend the most time doing personal things — 70 minutes a day — the most out of any age group. Maybe the distraction isn’t so surprising.

Millennials are struggling to stay calm at work, so those frequent mental breaks may come to help them at work so they are less stressed. Stress comes at a cost, too, as more young people are now working non-stop because they aren’t getting paid a living wage.

But it could be the jobs they choose that get them worrying about work too much. Young people care more about happiness at work than salary. They might feel fulfilled in the work they are doing but not being able to afford basic things like rent, a car, or even paying debts like student loans.

Happiness also hurts their overall employment. If they’re working those lower-paying jobs, it means they might not even be paying off their debts at all, which hurts their credit. The lack of good credit goes a long way: It hinders young people’s chances at buying a home, putting them at risk of living either back at home with their parents or small living spaces with many roommates. It also hurts them from moving up at their current jobs and means they are more likely to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

The better workers: women or men?

Young people might be taking more time than their older co-workers on their phones, but when broken down even further, there’s one sex that spends more time on their phones than the other.

While 43 percent of women admit to using their phones for sites that their employers block, 68 percent of men are doing the same. But men are more likely to check nonwork email (32 percent) while ladies prefer checking social media (33 percent).

Social media is the top category that bosses think their employees are using when they get on their personal phones for nonwork stuff. It turns out that most workers are just checking personal email.

Almost 60 percent of employees are using their devices to visit pages that are blocked by their employer, which OfficeTeam says is a 36-point jump from the 2012 survey.

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About the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn is a full-time freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She’s president of Blossomers Media, Inc., a web development and online media consulting company. Along with her work on, she’s been a longtime freelancer for Money Talks News — a personal and consumer finance website — and South Florida Gay News — the largest weekly LGBT newspaper in the South. Zinn has written for a variety of other publications, including Huffington Post, The Week, Quartz, Fort Lauderdale Magazine, Indulge, and

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