By at home

Are you reading this when you should be working?

Tea breaks are so last century. Nowadays, i-breaks – surfing the web at work – are all the rage. Workers all over the country are logging onto Facebook, reading online newspapers and indulging in a bit of Internet shopping when they should be getting on with their jobs. In fact, British employees spend the equivalent of one day a week browsing the Internet at work, says a new study.

The most popular online workplace activities includes reading newspaper websites, shopping around for bargains, playing computer games and online banking. And two thirds of people believe taking i-breaks leave them feeling refreshed, focused, and better able to cope with their worklad.

John Miles, spokesman for Gocompare.com, which conducted the poll of 3,000 workers said: ”The majority of employees polled are convinced that taking regular i-breaks actually helps them to perform better at work. The fact of the matter is that Brits are working longer hours than ever before – certainly longer than the rest of Europe, so this means they have less time to do things at home. While we can’t really excuse people using work computers to play computer games, it is understandable that things like online banking, shopping around for deals and food shopping sometimes have to be conducted during the day.”

We take a look at the breakdown of online activities a typical worker gets up to in the space of a week:

  • News websites: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Social networking: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Shopping online: 1 hour 23 minutes
  • Online banking/paying bills: 40 minutes
  • TV / videos online: 45 minutes
  • Computer games: 8 minutes
  • Downloading music: 7 minutes
  • Total: 6 hours and 23 minutes a week

And it seems most of us are pretty defensive of our i-breaks. Eight in the workers say they are fully entitled to their i-breaks because they work so hard the rest of the time. But only a third of people think their bosses are aware of just how long they are spending doing things other than work. In fact, a sheepish 28% admit their employers probably wouldn’t be too happy if they knew what they were getting up to when they should be working.

‘The fact is that everyone takes breaks from work – and it probably takes less time to log onto the internet every now and then than it does to take a trip to the kitchen or vending machine for a tea break, or to go outside for a cigarette break,” said John Miles. “Brits aren’t skivers or work shy, but they do try to balance their personal business with their professional business. And it sounds like bosses will actually get more out of their staff if they are a little bit lenient and turn a blind eye to a bit of extra-curricular activity.”

Do you take regular i-breaks throughout the working day? Tell us in the comments below – we promise we won’t tell your boss!

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