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How Americans Really Spend Their Time at Work

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Talkative co-workers, computer glitches and social networks are all keeping American employees from getting their work done, new research shows.

The study by cloud-based application developer TrackVia found that 14 percent of employees believe chatting with co-workers is their biggest time-waster, while 11 percent said dealing with computer or software problems were keeping them from being productive. In addition, 5 percent felt that checking Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts was responsible for their unproductiveness.

Another time-waster, according to the research, is clearing up misunderstandings with others around the office. More than one in seven employees spend up to two hours a week addressing miscommunications with co-workers, while 7 percent waste more than three hours a week clearing things up.

Office politics are also creating unproductive work environments. The survey revealed that nearly 20 percent of employees waste up to two hours in a typical week navigating or dealing with office politics, with 7 percent estimating they spent at least six hours on it.

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One way to increase productivity in the workplace, the research found, is to make meetings more beneficial for employees. Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed felt at least half of the meetings they attend each week are a waste of their time.

The research did find that while company policies might be unpopular, they often work. More than 10 percent of workers said company rules or procedures greatly increased their productivity, while just 2 percent felt it cut back on it.

The study was based on surveys of 300 non C-level employees throughout the U.S. who use computers and software as part of their daily job.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.