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The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ - The average work day - EY - Australia

The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™

The average work day

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Proportion of time spent at work and leisure by productivity group

Proportion of time spent on different tasks by productivity group

Overall main activities that lead to waste



On average, Australian workers spend 16% of their day on activities that waste their time and effort. The causes of that wasted time are surprisingly similar across all industries.

Australian workers spend more than half of their work days either at work or travelling to and from their workplace. Contrary to popular belief, the actual time spent at work has little impact on productivity given the similarity across groups, with our least productive people actually spending slightly longer at work than anyone else.

The difference is that highly productive workers spend less time travelling to work, take longer breaks, and more time on leisure and recreation. They also take less than five days of sick leave per year.

Whereas those workers in the productive or less than productive groups take fewer breaks, spend longer travelling to work and less time on leisure and recreation. Perhaps due to an apparently less healthy lifestyle, they are also more likely to take a week or more of sick leave per year.

What’s going on in your workplace?

Despite the hype, social media accounts for only 4% of time wasted at work. The nation’s biggest time waster is people who can’t get on with their work because of delays from a higher authority to review a decision or waiting for input from other parties.

Organisations have the opportunity to review and improve delegations of authority and more strongly empower workers. This “process waiting time” accounts for 16% of the hours employees waste each day.



Almost on par are time wasting emails (15%) and technology waiting time (13%), which is a particular issue for the highly productive group.

The unproductive group are more likely to spend time in unnecessary meetings and more likely to be involved in meaningless production than their more productive colleagues.







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