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Trivial pursuit - the game that's costing New Zealand $19 billion a year


The rules are simple: engage in any trivial pursuit you like during the working day other than doing something for the boss.

Rod Vaughan
Wed, 11 Jul 2018

When it comes to playing trivial pursuit New Zealanders are some of the best in the business.

But it’s not the world famous board game they excel at, but a homegrown version they’ve developed at work.

The rules are simple: engage in any trivial pursuit you like during the working day other than doing something for the boss.

For most, this means spending as much time as they can emailing friends or making personal phone calls and if they get bored with that there’s always Facebook, Twitter and other social media to pass the time of day.

It’s a high stakes game where the only losers are the bosses and the national economy.

A just-released Ernst and Young survey shows that Kiwis are a bunch of malingerers, wasting up to a fifth of their working day engaged in other pursuits.

The biggest time waster is email at 17%, while 16% of time is lost waiting for others to finish their tasks.

Such slothfulness comes at a high price, costing the country $19 billion a year in lost productivity.

Now employees are on notice to stop wasting the boss’s time and start doing an honest day’s toil.

Bruce Goldsworthy of the Employers and Manufacturers Association says it is a timely reminder to bosses to keep an eye on what their staff are up to.

“I mean, I don’t know what sort of reward you get for sort of sitting around doing nothing and thinking nothing.

“And what I find with young people is if the computer’s down they’ve forgotten how to use a pen and paper.”

However, Mr Goldsworthy says the survey’s results are also “a sharp message to employers that issues such as failure of computers and printers, that cause significant down time, are their responsibility”.

Ernst and Young says more than a quarter of New Zealand workers have below average productivity, including a “clearly identifiable group of 7.3% of the workforce languishing at the very bottom of the country’s productivity scale”.

Rod Vaughan
Wed, 11 Jul 2018
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Trivial pursuit - the game that's costing New Zealand $19 billion a year
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