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Brit workers excel at skiving

14 days a year faffing about at their desks

New figures have shown that Brit workers lead the world in "desk skiving" - the art of aimlessly faffing about at their posts when they should be lining shareholders' pockets with filthy lucre. Shockingly, the maths demonstrate that a third of workers may be taking fourteen days extra hols a year while a hard core of eight per cent admit that they are texting, doing personal emails or surfing the web for interesting stories on skiving British workers for an astounding 12 weeks per annum.

The findings come from a probe - carried out in March for European workforce management specialists Captor Group by research company Tickbox - of nearly 1,500 UK "workers" with net and mobe access at work. The survey found:

Over one third of respondents said they average 15 to 30 minutes a day on personal web surfing, emails or texts when they should be working. This equates to 7 to 14 days unofficial holiday a year.

The calculation is based on: 223 UK working days per year x 30 minutes per day = 6,690 minutes = 111 hours per person per year = 14.86 days ‘desk skiving’ at 7.5 hours per day.

For those readers glued to this fascinating orgy of stats when you should be grafting, here are the top "desk skiving" activities:

  • Looking at news online (58 per cent); personal research on search engines (54 per cent); personal texts (30 per cent); online shopping (27 per cent)
  • Nearly a quarter have looked for another job online and played desktop or online games
  • Nearly 20 per cent have taken part on online auctions
  • Fewer than five per cent of respondents admit to spending any time on each of the following: online dating, gambling (twice as many men as women), blogging, chat rooms and adult content websites (four times as many men as women)
  • Some 15 per cent say they spend more time on personal email than work email and 14 per cent use instant messaging to talk to friends – particularly women

Captor UK general manager, Nick Jakowiw, said: "What this survey does is to provide a snapshot of current behaviour in the workplace – and it certainly makes interesting reading. It seems that office based employees nowadays expect a certain amount of leeway when it comes to doing personal things at work, and many employers either simply accept this, or are not aware it is happening.

"The issue here is that 'desk skiving' could be perceived as theft – theft of time – and could potentially impact a company’s productivity if taken to extremes. What we do know is that if an employee has to track their time and attendance, their behaviour tends to change – so putting a time recording system in place could reduce 'desk skiving' by putting more onus on the employee to be accountable for what they do and making them aware of how they spend their time. However, the overall emphasis should be on carefully balancing employer and employee needs and developing a culture of flexibility and understanding in the workplace."

Too bloody right many employers are not aware of what is happening. Here, for the record, is the percentage breakdown of the average Reg hack's day:

  • Half-heartedly perusing emails complaining about articles relating to surveys about skiving UK workers - 11 per cent
  • Attempting to get the office WLAN to function, or rather complaining about non-functioning office WLAN while texting PR company chums to arrange robust lunch - eight per cent.
  • Attending said robust lunch - 36 per cent
  • Recovering from robust lunch while bidding for old rope on eBay - 22 per cent
  • Engaging in jolly IM banter with fellow hacks - 18 per cent
  • Writing stories about surveys which prove that British workers are an indolent bunch of ne'er-do-wells who should be shown the door at the earliest opportunity - 15 per cent.

Yes, that's right - 110 per cent effort each and every day. The fact is, we work our 'nads off down here at Vulture Central, so get back to work, the lot of you. ®


One Reg hack pointed out this survey was probably highly self selecting, as only seasoned desk skivers would have bothered filling in such a stupid survey, while their more conscientious colleagues would have actually been getting on with some real work. Unfortunately, no-one paid him any attention, as the rest of us were all on the phone making lunch reservations.

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