American workers take 5x more breaks than employers expect

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) How much of the workday are we really working?

Many Americans take pride in a “work hard, play hard” mentality. Or at least they say they do. The question is, from Monday morning to Friday evening, how much actual work is getting done?

To answer that question, recently surveyed 1,241 Americans who work classic “desk jobs,” mostly sitting at a computer, for approximately 40 hours per week.

The study revealed American workers take 2.7 hours of break time each day, on average. Far more downtime than most workers realize they’re taking.

Highlights include:

  • The average worker estimates that they take 42 minutes of breaks each day….when in reality they take 2.7 hours on average. 
  • 89% of workers think they take 60 minutes or less of breaks each day, only 9% do. 
  • Workers are on break 5x longer than their employers expect. 
  • Most frequent breaks: 1. Biological needs (36 min) 2. Entertainment (25 min)              3. Daydreaming (22min) 4. Communicating with friends, family, partner (18min). 

The report also found even when workers say they’re working, many aren’t giving their jobs their full attention. Roughly 3 in 4 remote workers admit to doing more multitasking at home than they did in the office. A shocking 28% admit to streaming content as they work.


Between July 1-2, 2021, we surveyed people who work 35 – 50 hours a week, primarily at a desk, on a computer. Our respondents were 56 percent male and 44 percent female, between the ages of 18 to 68, with an average age of 37 years old.

Let us know how much break time you’re taking!