Employees Do the Darnedest Things

Do actual work… at work? Some workers will do just about anything, apparently, to avoid working while on the clock.

From hiding in the bathroom to testing the powers of hypnosis, some workers will do just about anything to avoid doing actual work while on the clock, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder.

Thanks to smartphones, chatty coworkers and never-ending Twitter feeds, among other factors, obstacles that get in the way of actual work are seemingly endless.

Nearly three in every four employers have taken at least one step to mitigate productivity killers, such as blocking certain Internet sites (33%) and banning personal calls/cell phone use (23%). Other efforts include scheduled lunch and break times (21%), monitoring of emails and Internet use (21%), limiting meetings (16%) and allowing telecommuting (13%).

When asked to name the biggest productivity killers in the workplace, employers cited:

  • Cell phones/texting: 52%
  • The Internet: 44%
  • Gossip: 37%
  • Social media: 36%
  • Email: 31%
  • Coworkers dropping by: 27%
  • Meetings: 26%
  • Smoke breaks/snack breaks: 27%
  • Noisy coworkers: 17%

Employers were also asked to reveal the most unusual or most memorable things they have found an employee doing when they should have been working:

  • Taking a sponge bath in the bathroom sink
  • Trying to hypnotize other employees to stop smoking
  • Visiting a tanning bed in lieu of making deliveries
  • Looking for a mail-order bride
  • Playing a video game on their cell phone while sitting in a bathroom stall
  • Drinking vodka while watching Netflix
  • Sabotaging another employee’s car tires
  • Sleeping on the CEO’s couch
  • Writing negative posts about the company on social media

Employees were also caught sending inappropriate pictures to other employees, searching Google images for “cute kittens,” making a model plane, flying drones around the office, and printing pictures of animals and then naming them after employees and hanging them in the work area.

Productivity killers’ negative consequences included:

  • Compromised quality of work: 45%
  • Lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack: 30%
  • Negative impact on boss/employee relationship: 25%
  • Missed deadlines: 24%
  • Loss in revenue: 21%