A Decade in Review – Where Do We Spend Our Work Time?

Each year PEPworldwide-USA surveys its PEP Program participants to determine how people are spending their time on various workplace tasks. Those surveyed represent all facets of US business and governmental organizations. The numbers expressed are in hours per week, per person (hpw/pp). Here is what we have found:

Technology has had a significant impact on how we work. We’re spending 1.6 hours less hpw/pp handling paper mail; but we have doubled that figure, adding 3.2 hpw/pp to address our email.

Time wasted attending ineffective meetings has risen by 66% from .9 hpw/pp in 2001 to 1.5 hpw/pp in 2011.

Our backlogged work has increased 38% from a 2001 figure of 2.2 hpw/pp to a 2011 figure of 2.9 hpw/pp.

Overtime has increased each and every year from 4.8 hpw/pp in ‘01 to 5.4 hpw/pp in ‘11.

Interruptions, the issue that everyone continually complains about, have sadly remained statistically constant at an uncomfortable rate of 3.7 hpw/pp in 20001 vs. 3.6 hpw/pp in 2011.

The good news, albeit not much, is that we are doing a little better at delegation with a decrease of time spent on non-delegated work dropping from 3.9 hpw/pp in ’01 to 3.3 hpw/pp in ’11.

And we continue to invest only a couple of hpw/pp planning our work staying statistically even with 2.2 hpw/pp in 2001 vs. 2.0 hpw/pp in 2011.

What this adds up to is an indicator that White Collar workers are spending 3.2 hpw/pp more now than they did a decade ago to actually get their work done.

We believe that this Decade Review – White Collar Productivity Index clearly indicates that:

1. Organizations would greatly benefit by proactively investing time and money to teach their people to how to work more effectively in all of the areas cited above. The ROI would be a matter of months.

2. Workers need to use their electronic calendars proactively to control the time they spend on various tasks by making appointments with themselves to assure that they get more of the right work done in time less with less stress.

If you would like a copy of the Decade in Review 2001 – 2011 White Collar Productivity Index, please sent us an email with just the phrase “2001-2011” written in the Subject Line and we’ll get one right out to you.