In any working day, there are various occasions when we’re torn away from our work. Essentially, almost nobody can work for their entire shift without stopping — but have you ever wondered what these stoppages cost?

Here, we’ve researched how much money we earn when we’re doing nothing — whether it’s because of toilet breaks, lateness or anything else. In collaboration with Inn Supplies — a catering equipment company and a leading retailer of soup containers — we’ll discover how much time goes into work distractions and find out your real working hours…

## Smoking Costs

**Employer loses:** £1,512.50 per month.

**Employee earns:** £151.25 per month.

Although it depends on how often an employee smokes, taking breaks during the working day for cigarettes cost employers a significant amount. According to a study, workers who smoke cost their employer £1,815 over the course of the year. When you consider that 20% of British employees smoke, a company with a workforce of 50 could fork out £18,150 over the course of the year on cigarette breaks.

## Medical Appointment Costs

**Employer loses:** £179.75 per month.

**Employee earns:** £14.38 per appointment.

Getting an appointment at your local GP surgery is often difficult enough without having to grab one outside of your working hours. Fortunately, most employers are happy to give you time off to see your doctor when necessary. But at what price? Generally, in one year, we visit our GP six times, with each appointment lasting ten minutes. Of course, the actual time we’re away from our desk is much longer than this, considering time spent travelling to the surgery and in the waiting room itself.

Of course, every employee and appointment is different, but overall, doctor appointments still equate to a significant amount of company finances. According to research by Vitals.com, we spend an average of 21 minutes in the doctor’s waiting room. If we assume travelling to and from the surgery will take around 30 minutes in total, this — added to the ten-minute consultation time — means we’re away from our desks for around an hour each time we visit the doctors, costing employers the hourly rate of £14.38.

If we say that three of the six annual doctor appointments take place during a shift, that means that employers could lose £2,157 per year (for a workforce of 50).

## Lateness Costs

**Employer loses: **£186 per month.

**Employee earns: **£23.25 per month.

Whether it’s the traffic, kids or alarm clock, we’re all guilty of showing up to work late sometimes. Regardless of reason, this lost time costs money — but how much? To find out, we read a study that was carried out in 2012. It suggests that a late employee loses 97 minutes per month on average. Assuming that the employee has an average UK salary of £27,600, they will earn £14.38 per hour, which means that 97 minutes of lateness costs employers £23.25 in lost time, per employee, per month.

So, what does the situation look like on a companywide scale? A report by CareerBuilder found that 16% of employees are late on a weekly basis. This means that, in a business with 50 employees, eight employees are late each week. Assuming that this lateness equates to the monthly average of 97 minutes, this could cost a business around £186 each month!

## Mobile Costs

**Employer loses:** £2,016 per month.

**Employee earns:** £72 per month.

One of the greatest changes in workplace culture is the trend towards employees using their own mobile phones at work — and this includes keeping these in plain view on your desk. However, is this always beneficial or does this come at a significant price? A survey by CareerBuilder has found that over half of employees use their mobile phone for personal use in the workplace.

Obviously, every phone call and text is different. However, let’s guess that 15 minutes each day is spent on mobile phones at work. That means that employers are paying £3.60 to each employee every day to use their mobiles. If 55% of 50 employees use their phones for this duration, the cost to the employer is £100.80 each day — or £23,386 in a year.

## Toilet Break Costs

**Employer loses:** £2,880 per month.

**Employee earns:** £57.60 per month.

Answering nature’s call is all part of any day, never mind a working one. But have you ever considered that this is an action that your company is paying you to do? On average, we go to the toilet six or seven times a day. Basing our calculations on the average employee visiting the loo three times at work, with each lasting four minutes, you’ll ‘earn’ 96p each time you go to the toilet!

Taking this information and applying it to a workforce, we can see that a large portion of company money goes on paying employees to use the toilet. If we imagine that a company has a workforce of 50, the total cost lost through toilet breaks each day is £144 — money that is literally going down the toilet! Excluding holidays, there are 232 working days in the average year. Over this time, a company of this size can expect to spend £33,408 on toilet breaks.

## Overall Price For Staff Interruptions

Clearly, even the smallest of interruptions can create a large dint in company profits. When we tot up the figures, we find that non-smoking employees ‘earn’ £1,877.34 from lateness, toilet breaks, doctors’ appointments, and distractions over the course of a year. For smokers, this figure is even higher at £3,692. A staggering £79,333 per year is spent by employers with 50 staff members for these disruptions to the working day— a large amount for what we consider to be small interruptions.

### Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Dentalcheckups.aspx

http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2014/03/19/how-to-reduce-time-spent-in-doctor-waiting-room.html