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Chatting at work costs the economy 2 billion per year


Employers are losing out on 2 billion every year due to staff chatting at work, new research shows.

Research from HireScores.com surveyed 1,546 members of the British public to see how much time was being spent by employees talking about unrelated issues.

The poll found of those surveyed, more than half, 52%, admitted to talking about the previous night’s TV during office chats, whilst a third, 34%, said that their love life was the main topic of conversation.

The average UK salary is £23,472 per year, or £489 per week which means that the hourly wage is £13.04. Based on this figure, and the fact that the average amount of time spent procrastinating at work is 67 minutes according to the study, the average British employee will cost their company £14.56 each day, or £72.80 for each five day week. There are currently 28.79m employed people in the UK meaning that over £2bn is lost each year due to office chatter.

When asked, "How much time do you estimate you spend talking about unrelated issues at work, every day?", the survey found that the average time was 67 minutes, with 8% confessing to spending 3 hours or more a day chatting to colleagues at work.

Of those that admitted talking at work, a third, 34%, said that they didn’t think that it affected their performance, with more than half, 52%, of these saying that they would often work whilst discussing unrelated topics. 23% said that they would only chat depending on who was in the room, with four eighths, 79%, saying that they would never talk about unrelated issues in front of their boss.

The top ten topics that people talk about in the office:


1.       Television – 52%

2.       Weekend plans – 49%

3.       Food – 46%

4.       Sport – 43%

5.       Previous evening – 41%

6.       Colleagues – 37%

7.       Friends – 35%

8.       Love life – 34%

9.       Music – 31%

10.   Holidays – 29%

Lisette Howlett, managing director of HireScores.com said: "We all know the excitement of coming into work and wanting to talk about last night’s events, whether it be on the TV or what you got up to last night, but with over £2bn being lost each year, it’s important to rein it in a little bit. It is however, a huge bonus for employees to have a good relationship with each other, in terms of morale especially, so in many ways it’s a good thing to talk - just not too much.

"Some suggestions would be for employers encourage office workers to take their breaks with other colleagues, and for staff to arrive a bit earlier or leave a bit later."