Americans spend an hour a day goofing off at work. Is that a bad thing?

Posted at 10:42 AM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 10:42:32-05

HOUSTON, TX-- Americans work longer hours than anyone in the world, but just how much actual work is getting done? That's up for debate. A new study finds we spend almost an hour a day goofing off.

Houston core analyst Analyn Portero can relate, "I start talking about my dog and all my animals with my boss. and then we'll (say), 'Okay, now it's work time.' We have to snap back."

A big cause of goofing off is the internet. "Instagram, facebook, GroupMe," says Rashad Cave, a business consultant, "you can get yourself kind of caught up very easily in responding to general social media email messages that can be extremely time consuming."

Some bosses actually support such activities, like James O'Neill who heads up Inventure Design on Richmond. "Because we're a service industry, we're dealing with clients that may not be so happy all day long," explains O'Neill, "so you need to have some kind of outlet for the stress that gets induced."

At Inventure, that stress outlet can include an alcoholic beverage from the open bar in the kitchen or a Nerf war with co-workers, something O'Neill encourages by presenting each new employee with a company-provided Nerf gun.

"It helps with the creativity," explains associate Morgan Stautzenberger, "It helps people loosen up in the office, so it's just a good environment."

Fellow associate Kelly Dendy, a master with her Nerf Vortex blaster, agrees, "It just kinds of breaks up the day and gives us a little stress reliever."

The wasted work-time study was done by the National Bureau of Economic Research. (With a dull name like that, you gotta know there's major goofing off going on there.) They suggest the more time employees spend at work, the more playtime increases.

O'Neill says that's not necessarily a bad thing, "I hire people that have a task to do and get it done on time. If that allows you an hour to surf the internet, have a Nerf gun war, enjoy a beer... at the end of the day, that really just helps people in doing what they're doing."

Sounds like our kinda boss!