What’s deemed OK in the office is changing
The research found that it’s not just working hours that employers have become relaxed about, safe in the knowledge that employees are working elsewhere. A large number of tasks that may have been considered taboo in the past are now seen by many as acceptable practices at work today.
Regular breaks (53%) and extended breaks (37%), having a chat (36%) and carrying out chores such as paying bills and shopping online (13%) all featured highly on the list of personal tasks that employers are fine to be featured in their workers’ days.
US bosses are most likely to be OK with their employees taking time out to catch up with their friends. American employers are two-and-a-half times (41%) as likely as the Brits to allow workers to make personal phone calls from their desks and twice as likely (21%) to allow the use of social networking sites.
Despite typically working the latest, Irish employees are the most likely to be allowed to leave early to hit the bars, with bosses 50% more likely than average to be OK with this. Brits, on the other hand, are the least likely to be allowed to check out early to get to the pub and half as likely as Americans to be able to linger over a long lunch.
Having already put in the hours before reaching their desks, employees are also feeling justified in enjoying a bit of flexibility in the workplace and over 90 percent are adding personal tasks to their office to-do lists.
The top 30 personal tasks that employees felt it was OK to do at work were:
- Leaving early for the doctor or dentist
- Personal phone calls
- Regular tea/coffee/water-cooler breaks
- Chatting with colleagues
- Sending a few personal emails
- Taking a long lunch
- Online banking
- Leaving work early for a child’s performance at school
- Paying a few bills
- Listening to music
- Having breakfast
- Reading newspapers/magazines
- Using social media
- Calling customer complaints
- Researching things you want to buy online
- Brushing teeth
- Researching holidays
- Online shopping
- Food shopping online
- Showering after cycling/running/gym
- Looking up recipes
- Playing the lottery
- Reading online gossip
- Writing personal blogs
- Interviewing for new jobs
- Starting a business/side jobs
- Organizing music playlists
- Watching sports
- Video conferencing
- Online dating