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  • Research reveals the average worker wastes 43 minutes per day procrastinating during working hours

A ground-breaking new report from the UK’s leading peer-to-peer lender, RateSetter, has for the first time revealed the hidden cost of procrastination. It has found that £76 billion is lost by British businesses each year due to procrastinating employees, the equivalent of nearly a tenth(8%) of national debt.[1]

RateSetter’s report – the ‘Great British Procrasti-nation’ – based on a YouGov survey of over 2000 adults, uncovers that the average Brit spends a staggering 218 minutes procrastinating per day, adding up to 55 daysof lost time each year.

Of this procrastination time, the average person spends 43 minutes procrastinating at work each day, equating to nearly 10% of the average 7.5 hour working day and adding up to a significant 3 hours 35 minutes per working week. As a result, British businesses are failing to get full value from their employees.

Launching on National Sickie Day, this new research highlights the cumulative costs being absorbed by British businesses. Latest statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions calculated that half a million Britons are off work sick every day, costing £100 billion a year.[2] But this figure doesn’t take into account those additional hours spent unproductively by workers playing Candy Crush or on Facebook Chat during their working day, a much more difficult habit to monitor and curb.

Commenting on the results, Rhydian Lewis, Founder and CEO of RateSetter, said: “The idea behind this research was our observation that many people across the nation are unhappy with the way they manage their finances, yet do nothing to resolve it.

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Bussiness“This led us to start looking at how and why people procrastinate. We never imagined we’d see such shocking results, and as a business owner myself it’s rather enlightening, showing that it’s not just individuals who are suffering from their procrastination, but the knock on effect this is having on businesses.

“In particular the results are concerning for the increasing tranche of small start-up companies in the Britain which are unlikely to be able to afford to absorb the cost of this wasted time, and whose profitability and success many hang in the balance.”

RateSetter itself promotes a culture where proactivity is rewarded and encouraged. Indeed this ethos last year led to record growth for the company, which became the first peer-to-peer lender to turn a profit, and overtook rivals to become the largest P2P lender in 2014, ultimately helping to double the growth of the industry as a whole.

The cost of work-based procrastination doesn’t just impact on businesses but on the individuals themselves, with one in five people (21%) admitting that if they stopped procrastinating they would enjoy a better work-life balance.

A further quarter of Britons (24%) admit that they procrastinate over their personal finances, despite 17% believing they would be in a better financial position if they didn’t. Whilst over half the nation’s (53%) money sits in a savings account, nearly a third (30%) of people claim to be dissatisfied with this method.

For these reasons RateSetter is today launching a #MakeTodayPay campaign – aimed at encouraging people to kick their procrastination habits and start taking small actions to make a difference to their lives – be it getting more returns for their money or a better work-life balance.

[1]In order to calculate our figure of £76 billion we used data from the ONS on full and part time workersalong with data from our own survey of the British Public conducted by polling agency YouGov.  According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the average (mean) gross weekly pay in Great Britain is £504.00.  The same survey found that average (mean) weekly hours worked is 33.2.  Our YouGov survey found that the average person spends 43 minutes per day procrastinating at work – a total of 3 hours 35 minutes per week.  Dividing the  average hourly pay of £15.18 by 60 (minutes) and multiplying it by 43 (minutes), the cost of procrastination per day reaches £10.88. Multiplying this by 233 (the number of days worked per annum, excluding weekends and statutory holiday) the time spent wasted gives us a total cost of procrastinated time of £2,535.04 per person per annum. ONS employment figures for Great Britain show that 29,976,000 people were in paid employment August-October 2014.  Multiplying the working population by £2,535.04 gives us our figure of £76 billion.


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