Is laziness holding your business back?

Research commissioned by British bank Aldermore suggests that laziness costs the average Brit almost £17,000 over the course of their lifetime, because too many of us have become used to taking the easier option.

Chief examples of laziness, says the report, include driving rather than cycling or walking; going to the local car wash instead of getting a bucket and sponge and doing it ourselves; putting off canceling direct debits; and not bothering to get a refund on unwanted clothes we have purchased. Almost half of the 2,000 people surveyed said they’d rather pay someone to take care of boring tasks, such as cleaning the windows, than do it themselves.

Washing your car would save £68 a year and cleaning your own windows £72 a year

According to Aldermore: “The average Brit could save £52 a year by cancelling pointless direct debit payments. Washing [your] own car would save £68 a year and cleaning [your own] windows £72 a year.” One in three never bothers to turn off appliances at the wall, while one in ten books more expensive train tickets because they can’t be bothered to look for cheaper alternatives. 10 per cent of respondents also admitted they could cancel gym membership they don’t make use of.

Laziness can be a significant problem in the workplace, too, of course (which reminds me of the old gag – “How many work at your place?”, “Oh, about half of them…). Although published in the US a few years ago, this infographic provides much food for thought for employers.

Chief workplace distractions include surfing the web, socialising with other workers, daydreaming and applying for other jobs

Based on stats gathered by Online MBA, it suggests the average US worker fritters away three hours every eight-hour working day – and that doesn’t include lunch and other scheduled breaks.

Chief workplace distractions include: surfing the web (44%, amounting to as much as 18 wasted hours per employee per week); socialising with other workers (23.4%); daydreaming (3.9%); and applying for other jobs (1.3%).

Older members of staff and those less well educated are significantly less likely to skive, while 77 per cent of those surveyed admitted to looking at their Facebook pages during work hours (39% said they would quit their jobs if Facebook was banned at work), while 60% made personal online purchases at work.

Older members of staff and those less well educated are significantly less likely to skive

Key reasons why staff said they wasted time at work were lack of work (33.2%), feeling underpaid (23.4%) and being distracted by colleagues (14.7%).

Well worth a read is entrepreneur Andy Yates’ recent piece for on how time is often wasted in offices and how it can be remedied. “The real question businesses need to ask about time-wasting is – why are employees doing it in the first place?” stresses Andy. “Unchallenging work, poor management and motivation are all common problems. Just think how much more any business could get done with a productive workforce.”

With Britain recently exposed as Europe’s third laziest country, buoyed by the nation’s phenomenal Olympic success, maybe it’s time we all became a little less lazy at work and home.

• Commissioned by Atom Content Marketing, this blog appeared originally on the Start Up Donut website.