Human Resources News & Insights

The 10 oddest things HR managers have caught employees doing

A survey was just conducted to find out what’s stifling employee productivity, and HR managers revealed some disturbing things about their workers. 

That is to say they shared a lot of the weird stuff their employees like to do while on the clock.

Some of the more distributing things named in the survey:

  1. Employee was working on a scrapbook.

  2. Employee was decorating a cubicle with chains of paper clips.

  3. Employee brought her equipment for her embroidery business from home and was making items for a craft show to sell.

  4. Employee was doing doughnuts in the parking lot in the snow.

  5. Employee brought in a kitten she found outside and tried to keep it quiet within a large purse.

  6. Employee was working on her child’s school project that included uncooked macaroni noodles.

  7. Employee was laying on a patient’s bed talking to the patient while the patient sat in her wheelchair.

  8. Employee was watching YouTube videos of people shoving marshmallows in their mouth.

  9. Employee was doing some personal grooming in the break room.

  10. Employee was searching on craigslist for dates.

The survey, devised by CareerBuilder and conducted by Harris Poll, received responses from 2,186 HR and hiring managers, as well as 3,031 full-time employees.

The biggest productivity killers

The survey also asked managers what they felt, in general, the biggest productivity killers were in their workplaces.

The top 10 (managers could select multiple responses):

  1. Cell phone usage/texting: 55% indicated this was a problem
  2. The Internet: 41%
  3. Gossip: 39%
  4. Social media: 37%
  5. Co-workers dropping by: 27%
  6. Smoke/snack breaks: 27%
  7. Email: 26%
  8. Meetings: 24%
  9. Noisy co-workers: 20%
  10. Sitting in a cubicle: 9%

Perhaps anticipating that cell phones would be managers’ biggest bugaboo when it came to employees’ productivity, CareerBuilder survey set out to find exactly what it was employees are doing on their phones.

Employees’ top 10 responses:

  1. Personal messaging: 65%
  2. Weather: 51%
  3. News sites: 44%
  4. Games: 24%
  5. Shopping: 24%
  6. Traffic: 12%
  7. Gossip: 7%
  8. Sales: 6%
  9. Adult sites: 4%
  10. Dating sites: 3%

What employers can, and are, doing about it

How many employers have actually taken steps to stymie their staffers’ non-work activities (digital-based or not)? The survey revealed that 75% of employers have done something.

Here’s what that 75% said they’re doing:

  • Scheduling lunch and break times: 24%
  • Monitoring emails and Internet usage: 19%
  • Limiting meetings: 17%
  • Allowing people to telecommute: 14%
  • Implemented an open space layout instead of cubicles: 14%
  • Restricting use of speakerphones for those not in an office: 13%
  • Increasing height of cubicle walls to make it easier to concentrate: 8%
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