Some people need their daily YouTube fix even more than they need their 10 a.m. coffee break. If you’re browsing the Web on company time looking for the latest in viral videos, you’re not alone. A new MSN-Zogby survey of 3,800 office employees nationwide reveals that engaging in non-work related activity at the office is far from uncommon.
Making 9-to-5 the new primetime
One-in-five office workers (21 percent) responding to the poll stated they have watched TV online – for reasons unrelated to work – while on the job. Results showed that younger workers (those aged 18 to 29) were more likely to engage in recreational online TV viewing than older office workers were. Moreover, where 23 percent of men have taken part in this behavior, only 17 percent of women have done the same.
Although watching TV on company time may be questionable behavior, some workers are engaging in far more dubious activities. Six percent of office workers admit they’ve looked at pornography on their work computer. Employees with less than $25,000 in household incomes are most likely to have viewed pornography for entertainment at work. Men also outnumber women, with 10 percent of men – as opposed to 1 percent of women – looking at pornography.
Working their mouths
Sometimes workers don’t get their entertainment from the Internet – they create their own. More than half of all workers polled (61 percent) admit they have spent work time spreading or listening to office gossip. Two in three workers (66 percent) aged 18 to 29 have repeated office gossip and more than half of employees aged 30 to 64 admit to the same, as do nearly the same amount (43 percent) of workers 65 and older. At 68 percent, employees with $25,000 to $35,000 in household income are most likely to have repeated gossip about a co-worker. With 68 percent of female office workers saying they gossip at work, they outnumber the 55 percent of males who do the same.
Minding their own business
When they’re not seeking out amusement, many workers are taking care of a certain kind of business at the workplace: their own. According to the poll, nearly half of workers (46 percent) say they have tackled their personal bills at the office. Fifty-five percent of employees with $35,000 to $50,000 in household income take care of personal finances on company time, making them the group most likely to partake in this behavior. Only 36 percent of those with less than $25,000 in household income do the same. More workers aged 18 to 29 (50 percent) take care of bills at work than do those aged 65 or older (29 percent).
One-in-five workers (20 percent) have answered a non-work related cell phone call at a meeting, and nearly the same amount (17 percent) have sent unrelated text messages or e-mails during a meeting. Those with the greatest household income are the most likely offenders: 29 percent admit they’ve answered messages and 24 percent admit to sending them. One-in-four workers (25 percent) with children younger than 17 living at home say they have picked up personal calls at meetings, whereas only 17 percent of those without children say they’ve done the same. More men (23 percent) than women (16 percent) participate in such behavior. With 28 percent of 18- to 29-year-old workers sending private e-mails and texts at meetings, this group has the most offenders.
More than a third of workers (38 percent) have looked for new jobs online while at work. Half of those with $25,000 to $35,000 in household income admit to job hunting on company time – the most of any household income level. Nearly half (49 percent) of workers aged 18 to 29 are also guilty of job hunting while at work. Forty-two percent of workers who live in large cities have searched for other employment on the job, followed by 38 percent of small city-dwellers, then 36 percent of suburbanites and, finally, 28 percent of workers living in rural areas.