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UAE office workers waste 13 million days on tea and gossip

By Staff Writer

New research shows that office workers in the UAE spend considerable time engaged in non-work-related activites while at their desks.

A staggering 13 million man days are spent annually in activities such as watercooler gossip, social networking and tea or cigarette breaks, according to a study by The Office Exhibition, a workplace interiors show.

The survey polled 1,000 office workers across the UAE and found that each person spends an average of 46 days in their working year on non-work-related activity. It used data provided by the real estate consultancy Isthmus Partners, which estimated there were 287,500 workers in the UAE in 2005.

Pollsters threw up the following findings: 

- Time for a cuppa: Some 150 million cups of tea are made by office workers every year, with each person spending nearly four and a half working days doing so.

- Gossip is good: We spend nearly seven working days a year chatting to colleagues.

- Banking, booking tickets: Online banking and paying bills is a popular in-work-time activity, with each office worker spending 11 days a year doing it; besides six days annually spent online at work researching and booking holidays.

- Socialising online: Some 62 per cent of companies have an IT policy relating to social media and personal internet usage which is adhered to, but 33 per cent either have a policy that is ignored, or do not have a policy at all. In line with this, 44 per cent of respondents said that they did not use social networking at work, although office workers still spend almost 11 days each a year doing so.

- Drop me an e-mail: E-mail is by far the preferred method of communication at work, with 60 per cent of respondents choosing it over phone or face to face contact. Office workers send and receive a total of a staggering 3.5 billion e-mails every year.

"It's well known that people in the UAE spend long hours in the office, but our survey has uncovered some fascinating facts about what actually happens during the working day," said Sinead Bridgett, Show Director, The Office Exhibition.?The event runs from February 9 to 11.


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