Survey: Workplaces Present Obstacles to Productivity

More than half of American employees at companies with five or more workers believe the culture at their workplaces impedes productivity. That’s according to the recent “Get Business Done” survey from American Express OPEN, which analyzed data from more than 1,000 employees across the country. The study found that 52% believe their work environments hinder output. Significantly, just over three in 10 workers (31%) also say that ideas are shelved too quickly in their offices.

“At AMEX, we understand and face many of the same workplace challenges that are affecting offices across the country,” said Courtney Kelso, senior vice president of Global Strategy, Brand and Field Enablement for American Express OPEN. “From meeting culture, to days where ‘no’ is the most popular word, we want to highlight these workplace barriers and help our customers overcome them to be more productive and get more business done.”

According to the survey, 88% of workers say they pretend to understand verbiage commonly used among coworkers even when they don’t understand what it means. At the same time, 64% say they use those same words or phrases during the workweek.

The survey also found that one-third of employees spend almost 1,200 hours yearly in meetings they would call “pointless,” the equivalent of 150 work days or 30 work weeks each year. While sitting in said meetings, they admit to thinking about other things, including errands to be run (43%), vacation hot spots (32%), critiquing employees’ choice of dress (29%) and jokes that would make the meeting more fun (27%).

Workers also say they have responded to work emails after 10 p.m. (36%), on vacation (36%), as late as 3 a.m. (19%) and while out on dates (15%). And 35% say they’ve taken a sick day when they weren’t actually ill.

Furthermore, the study found that employees are also distracted by social media while at work; 52% say social media hinders their productivity, while 30% spend a significant amount of time at news sites during the day. They also admit to eating someone else’s lunch out of the office fridge (18%), stealing a parking spot (18%) and not cleaning up the microwave after use (17%).

The Get Business Done survey was conducted by Morar Consulting for American Express OPEN. It features information compiled from 1,061 employees across the United States from May 30 through June 5.