An 8-hour workday can seem loooong. Especially when you have to work five of them back-to-back. So it can't hurt if you pop into Facebook here, check a little Twitter there, right? Other activities like checking email and your noisy obnoxious coworkers eat into your productivity, too.

So you might be wondering how much time you really spend doing real work.

A recent study from UK-based deals site VoucherCloud sought to found out. The company surveyed 1,989 UK-based office workers, all who were over age 18 and had full-time office jobs. Participants were asked: "Do you consider yourself to be productive throughout the entire working day?"

You're probably not surprised to learn than 79 percent of them said no. Who can blame them? It's impossible to be productive of every single minute of every single day.

The real surprise is how long -- or how little, rather -- the participants said they were productive in a standard 8-hour workday: On average, just two hours and 53 minutes. That means more than five hours of every single day are spent doing non-work related tasks.

Distractions, distractions everywhere

The most popular distraction was checking social media. Almost half (47 percent) of respondents admitted to doing this at work. They reported to spending an average of 44 minutes each day visiting their favorite social media sites.

Coming in at a close second, 45 percent of respondents said they also spent time at work checking news sites. They averaged just over an hour reading up on news online during the workday.

Between checking social media and reading news sites, that's almost two hours a day down the drain. That leaves just six hours to dedicate to productive work. But there are plenty of other distractions vying for workers' attention.

Respondents reported spending time doing the following, which on average ate up various chunks of their day:

  • Talking to coworkers about non-work activities (40 minutes a day)

  • Smoking breaks (23 minutes a day)

  • Eating snacks and making food (15 minutes a day)

  • Looking for a new job (26 minutes)

The need for meaningful work?

The most telling insight from this survey is how much time these employees sent looking for new jobs. On average they dedicated almost half hour a day to this pursuit.

If these employees had more engaging or more meaningful work, would they be wasting this much time on non-work activities every single day? Another study found that employees would be willing to take a 32 percent pay cut if their work were more meaningful. More meaningful work would also likely lead to improved productivity -- and less Facebooking or reading new sites.

Logging just under three hours of productive work a day could also signal a toxic workplace. In which case, these employees might be better off quitting. Yet another study found that the chronic stress caused from working a toxic job could be a greater strain on your health than being unemployed.

Published on: Oct 4, 2017