LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — Working hard or hardly working?

The age-old question is one you might want to ask yourself, according to a recent Harris Poll done on behalf of

More than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals and a sample of more than 3,000 other full-time workers from various industries were surveyed for the poll.

As it turns out, 24 percent of workers admit to spending at least one hour during a typical workday on personal calls, emails or texts and 21 percent estimate that they spend an hour or more searching the Internet for non-work-related information.

Of course, other factors can also create performance-draining obstacles in the workplace. When asked what they consider to be the primary obstacles of their employees, employers said:

· Cell phone/texting – 50%
· Gossip – 42%
· The Internet – 39%
· Social media – 38%
· Snack breaks or smoke breaks – 27%
· Noisy co-workers – 24%
· Meetings – 23%
· Email – 23%
· Co-workers dropping by – 23%
· Co-workers putting calls on speaker phone – 10%

Those surveyed also shared some wacky specific examples they’ve noticed, like a coworker caring for a pet bird that she smuggled into work, someone shaving their legs in the office restroom and someone using the company printer to print off a book from the Internet.

About 73 percent of employers have implemented measures to deal with some of the more prominent issues, such as:

· Blocking certain Internet sites at work – 36%
· Prohibiting personal calls or personal use of cell phones – 25%
· Monitoring emails and Internet usage – 22%
· Scheduling lunch and break times – 19%
· Allowing people to telecommute – 14%
· Implementing an open space layout instead of cubicles – 13%
· Limiting meetings – 12%
· Restricting use of speaker phones if not in an office – 11%

Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, says you can help set yourself up for success with these tips:

· Organize and prioritize – De-clutter your workspace and clearly lay out your game plan for the week. What do you need to accomplish each day? How much time will each project take? Which projects have the highest priority?
· Limit interruptions – Incoming calls and co-workers dropping by to chat about their weekend can break your concentration and eat up time. Block off a conference room to work on a project to avoid distractions at your desk. Read your email at intervals instead of opening each one as soon as it comes in. Consider telecommuting on certain days.
· Avoid unnecessary meetings – Don’t set aside an hour to meet about an issue or initiative that can be addressed with a quick phone call. Politely decline the meeting invitation and follow up with the organizer.
· Get personal on your own time – Whether you want to call a friend, take advantage of an online sale or post a picture of your dog on your social profile, do it during your lunch hour or break time or after work.
· Communicate wisely – Don’t spend 20 minutes crafting an email to the person sitting in the next cubicle. Save time by picking up the phone or walking over to your colleague’s desk.
· Don’t delay the inevitable – Finding other things to do so you can put off a less preferred project will only end up wasting more time. Don’t procrastinate. Dive in and tackle the task at hand.


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