[Skip to content]

FM World logo
Text Size: A A A
21 June 2018
View the latest issue of FM
Sign up to FM World Daily >
FM World daily e-newsletter logo


A third of work time is unproductive, says survey 

office shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

23 March 2016 | Marino Donati

UK workers think that more than a third of their time at work is unproductive, according to a survey.


A poll of 6,250 employees in 14 countries by consumer and employee insight firm Qualtrics found that respondents in the UK believe 36 per cent of their working day is unproductive.


Many other employees polled in Europe as well as American, Australian and Canadian workers rate themselves as more productive than UK workers. Exceptions were Greek workers, who think 38 per cent of their working day is unproductive, followed by Spanish workers at 42 per cent, and Italians – 52 per cent of whom think most of their working day is unproductive. 


Qualtrics said the research also revealed variations in perceptions of personal productivity relative to employees’ estimates of national productivity. 


American workers were the most immodest, said Qualtrics – they estimate their productivity at 11 percentage points greater than their perceptions of the national average. British workers think they are four percentage points more productive than their perceptions of the national average.


Greek workers spend the most time at work on social media – 24 minutes a day on average –Americans come in the lowest at just under 14 minutes a day. Workers in the UK and Ireland report spending just under 17 minutes each day on personal social media at work. 


UK workers are also relatively unhappy in their work compared with employees in other countries, according to the Global Attitudes to Work study.


Just over half (55 per cent) say they are satisfied with their jobs, compared with 65 per cent of Germans, French and Americans. 


German workers are also 10 percentage points happier with their work-life balance (66 per cent) than UK workers (56 per cent). The French are happiest, with 68 per cent saying they have a good life balance. Just over one in three Greeks is happy with work-life balance.


Ian McVey, UK manager, Qualtrics, said: “A global workforce is the secret behind a world-class company because the experience of your customers is contingent on how engaged your employees are.  But without getting to grips with its DNA, even the best employer cannot hope to bring out the best in its people or capitalise on the diversity of its talent base.  We conducted this survey to highlight the enormous disparities in outlooks among international employees.”


The BIFM's annual ThinkFM conference, which returns on 18 May next year in London, is set to explore FM's role in productivity.

The conference theme is 'Think Productivity’. An evolution from the 2015 conference on competitive advantage, the 2016 conference will explore how facilities and workplace management is fundamental to productivity.