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Study Says Workers Wasting More Time

With fewer people in the office to do the work, employees feel the need to collaborate more but, in many cases, actually accomplish less, according to a study from a training organization.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Compared to 2000, workers are now spending more time handling e-mail, attending ineffective meetings and being interrupted, according to a study from IBT-USA Inc., a training organization.

To measure working habits, IBT-USA (San Diego) developed the WhiteCollar Productivity Index (WPI). For the past five years, the company has collected statistics on over 1,000 employees at some 30 companies, representing a variety of sectors, including the automotive, finance, biotech, education, insurance, accounting and technology.

According to the WPI, the time spent on handling e-mail has skyrocketed from 4 hours per week in 2000 to 8.8 hours per week in 2004. But the time spent on handling paper mail fell from 2.0 hours per week in 2000 to 1.3 hours per week in 2004, according to the data.

While time spent attending ineffective meetings had reached a study low in 2000 of 0.7 hours a week, it eventually tripled by 2004, hitting 2.1 hours per person per week in 2004.

“With fewer people in the office to do the work, employees feel the need to collaborate more but, in many cases, actually accomplish less,” according to the company.

In addition, the time spent on being interrupted has jumped from 3.3 hours per week in 2000 to 4.5 hours in 2004, according to the data.

The time spent on working overtime has jumped from 4.9 hours per week in 2000 to 6.4 hours in 2004, according to the data. The time spent on delegating work increased from 3.3 hours per week in 2000 to 3.5 hours per week in 2004, according to the data.

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