How Employees Waste Their Time at Work

As a manager, it never ceases to amaze me how employees will find ways to waste their time at work.  Over the last ten years, I’ve probably seen, heard, or caught employees doing just about everything in the workplace.   Here are some of the more common and not-so-common ways that I’ve seen employees waste their time at work, along with a few fun stories.

Internet Browsing

For most people, including myself, a little Internet browsing here and there is no problem.  I’m not going to say I never check my Facebook page or personal email while at work, because I do.  The problem lies in how much time you spend Internet browsing.  When I worked in an office, I came across several employees that would spend hours each day browsing online.  In fact, I once had an IT Director email me an employee’s Internet usage to show how much they are browsing.  The bottom line is that a little browsing is okay, but a lot is not.

Now, however, I work at a place that blocks almost all external websites, so you can’t browse the Internet on your computer.  So what do some employees do?  They use their phones and keep them on their desks to check Facebook or email all day long.  This is harder to monitor, but it can still be an issue.

Watching Movies

You may be confused reading that sub-title, but I’ve really caught people watching movies at work.  And I’m not just talking about short little YouTube videos to kill some time.  I’m stumbled upon employees watching full-length movies streamed from sites like Netflix right to their computer.  I even had one employee watching HBO on Demand on their cell phone.  Once again, a little watching of a YouTube video every now and then is fine, but a full-length movie at work?  Really?


To go along with browsing the Internet, some people really enjoy online shopping.  In moderation or short bursts, that’s fine.  But I’ve actually had employees use the office as their mailing address for their online shopping in an effort to hide their shopping habits from their significant others.  If your work becomes your online package delivery station, you’re probably doing too much online shopping and not enough working.

Online Gaming

The Internet consistently provides easy outlets for employees who are looking to waste time.  Beyond just the browsing and movie watching, I’ve seen some employees even take to online gaming.  I think I’ve seen almost all types of games being play: from simple solitaire to Call of Duty first person shooters, to even online gaming.

I had one employee who would gamble so much at work that he lost all of his money.  Since he handled finances at work, and his credit was shot, he posed a risk to the firm and lost his job.  It just reminds you that just because the Internet is available doesn’t mean that you should waste all your time trying to find the end of it.

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