National Survey: Less than an Hour a Day on Average Spent on Online Shopping, Personal E-Mail, Computer Games, Personal Calls and Other Non-Work Use of Technology

Share Article

12th Annual "Attitudes in the American Workplace" Poll by Harris Interactive for The Marlin Company finds the majority of workers aren't goofing off using company technology for personal use.

Forget images of workers wasting hours of company time on computer games, email or online shopping. A new national survey has found that 61% of US workers say that their fellow employees spend an hour a day or less on personal use of company technology and 42% spend less than 30 minutes.

The survey conducted by Harris Interactive ® for The Marlin Company (, the workplace communications experts, also found that younger workers (age 18-34) are most likely to report employees using company technology for personal use with more than one quarter (27%) saying that workers spend an hour or more on personal use of company technology compared to 17% of workers age 50 or older saying that. Twenty-one percent of middle-aged workers (age 35 to 49) said that employees spend at least one hour a day using company technology for personal use.

The survey also found that, on average, employees in small companies (1 to 100 employees) report fewer people taking advantage of company technology for personal use than in medium (101 to 1,000 employees) or large companies (1001+). (*1) (20 minutes vs. 29 and 30 minutes, respectfully).

These are some of the results of "The Marlin Company's "12th Annual 'Attitudes in the American Workplace" survey of 751 U.S. workers 18 and older. The survey was conducted in May and June with a sampling error for the overall results of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

"Even though technology today makes it easy for workers to appear to be working when in fact they are shopping or playing computer games, the workplace today is simply too demanding for people to spend a lot of time on anything other than work," said Frank Kenna III, president of The Marlin Company, which improves employee morale, performance and productivity through innovative communication programs that reach all employees. "The survey findings indicate that workers simply don't have much time to waste."

The survey also found that one-third of workers who have internet access at work (34%) did on-line shopping at work. Higher income workers ($75K+) were most likely to make an online purchase. Forty one percent of workers earning $75K or more said they shopped online at work while 24% of workers earning less than $20,000 said they made purchases online at work. (*2) Both sexes were as likely to make online purchases at work with 33% of male workers compared to 34% of female workers saying they shopped online at work.

How many minutes in a typical day do you feel other employees make personal use of company technology, including telephones, voice mail, email, the Internet or computer games? (Base = all respondents)

US Workers

Zero - 15%

Less than 30 minutes - 27%

1 hour+ - 23%

Age 50 or older

Zero - 19%

Less than 30 minutes - 29%

1 hour+ - 17%

Age 18-34

Zero - 13%

Less than 30 minutes - 23%

1 hour+ - 27%

Small Company (1-100 employees)

Zero - 20%

Less than 30 minutes - 27%

1 hour+ - 22%

Medium Company (101-1000)

Zero - 8%

Less than 30 minutes - 32%

1 hour+ - 25%

Large Company (1001+)

Zero - 5%

Less than 30 minutes - 27%

1 hour+ - 23%

Have you purchased products or services online while at work in the last year? (Base = have internet access at home)

US Workers w/ Internet access

Yes - 34%

No - 65%


Yes - 33%

No - 66%


Yes - 34%

No - 65%

Less than $20K income (*2)

Yes - 24%

No - 76%

$20K to $35K income (*3)

Yes - 29%

No - 71%

$35 to less than $50K income

Yes - 35%

No - 64%

$50K to less than $75K income

Yes - 37%

No - 63%

$75K+ income

Yes - 41%

No - 57%

About the Survey

Harris Interactive® conducted the telephone survey in the U.S. on behalf of The Marlin Company between May 30 and June 15, 2006 among 751 U.S. adults ages 18 or older who are employed. Figures for age, race/ethnicity, education, income, and region were weighted, where necessary, to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

With a pure probability sample of 751, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-3.6 percentage points. Sampling error for sub samples would be higher and would vary. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About The Marlin Company

For more than 90 years, The Marlin Company has been the Workplace Communication Experts helping companies improve employee morale, productivity and performance through the innovative use of original, visually engaging content that is displayed in Communication Stations that can be managed through print or Internet distribution. Its stations, which contain content customized by industry, are helping more than 8,000 companies of all sizes improve workplace attitudes and behavior.

Through its many years of experience, The Marlin Company has developed a strong database of, and experience in, issues affecting the workplace. It routinely surveys thousands of clients to determine their current issues, works with industry experts across North America, and conducts national polling. Since 1995, it has conducted its annual "Attitudes in the American Workplace" Labor Day poll. In the early years, the Gallup Organization conducted the polling. Harris Interactive has done so since 2001. For more information, please see


(1) Caution should be exercised when interpreting these results due to small base sizes (N = 96 for "Large Companies").

(2) Caution should be exercised when interpreting these results due to small base sizes (N = 51 for "Less than $20K income").

(3)Caution should be exercised when interpreting these results due to small base sizes (N = 91 for "$35 to less than $50K income").

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Wendy Marx
Visit website