Office Chit-Chat Biggest Time Waster at Work

In the TrackVia survey of 300 people, 14 percent said that gabbing at the water cooler was the largest time waster at the office. (Credit: Getty Images)

It's not Facebook that reduces productivity at work. It's the office water-cooler and those annoying software updates and computer glitches that are behind the loss of productivity in the workplace, according to a new survey out today.

In the TrackVia sponsored survey of 300 people, 14 percent said that gabbing at the water cooler was the largest time waster at the office. The time lost dealing with software and computer problems came in second at 11 percent. Only 5 percent of the survey participants blamed Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts for wasting time at work.

The unscientific, opt-in poll sponsored by TrackVia received 300 responses from non-executive employees across the United States.

The giant mechanical fountain that's great for keeping employees hydrated throughout the day also seems to be a time sucker. The cups and spigot may actually lead to discussions about the latest episode of "Grey's Anatomy" or gossip instead of office assignments.

When it comes to peer-to-peer communication, the survey found that one in seven employees spent one to two hours per week addressing a misunderstanding or mis-communication with a colleague.

Good news for the corporate suits: your rules may work. According to the survey, 11 percent stated productivity increased thanks to rules put in place by the top brass.

"While some may argue that company policies and procedures can be considered a point of frustration and wasted time with workers, the survey found that only four percent of respondents considered it their biggest waste of time. In fact, when asked specifically about company policies, rules or procedures, some 44 percent said they actually helped increase productivity at least slightly," TrackVia said in a statement.

Some 17 percent of the respondents said they spent one to two hours a week dealing with office politics, and 7 percent said they spent three to five hours while another 7 percent spent six hours or more on this task.

But let's not hold a meeting to discuss this. Of those trapped in meetings during a typical week, 37 percent said at least half the time was wasted.