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Survey Shows Biggest Drain Comes From Employees Surfing the Internet, Socializing

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Web surfing and water cooler chatter are the top time thieves at work, according to a new survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) from Robert Half Management Resources. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of executives interviewed said non-business related Internet use, including social media, is the greatest time-waster. Chatting with coworkers ranked a not-too-distant second, garnering 27 percent of the response.  

Approximately one in 10 financial executives (11 percent) polled said meetings drain significant time, with the data suggesting this issue is most pronounced at larger firms (more than 1,000 employees), where meetings received 19 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.

CFOs were asked, "Which one of the following is the greatest time-waster at work for employees?" Their responses:

Non-business related Internet use (including social media)


Employees chatting and socializing


Personal calls or emails




Work-related email


Other/don't know



View an infographic featuring the research findings.

"Chatting with coworkers and attending to personal activities during breaks at the office are acceptable within reason. Balancing professional and personal obligations often requires completing non-work tasks during business hours," said Paul McDonald, Robert Half senior executive director. "But too many distractions can detract from individual and team productivity."

McDonald added, "If employees are spending too much time on non-work related tasks, identify why. They may have too little or too much on their plates. Find the right mix of assignments, and if they're feeling disengaged, give staff more exciting or challenging projects." 

About Robert Half Management Resources
Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to hiring managers and consultants at Follow our blog at

SOURCE Robert Half Management Resources

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