White collars- How much is your work downtime?

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BogleMelon
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White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by BogleMelon » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am

Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Is that normal? Or should I keep looking till I find an employer who can utilize more of my time?
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

tea_pirate
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by tea_pirate » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:19 am

60-75%. Engineering. This is my first job out of college. I'm starting a new job soon which will hopefully keep me more busy.
Last edited by tea_pirate on Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Bob Sacamano
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:20 am

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am
Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Is that normal? Or should I keep looking till I find an employer who can utilize more of my time?
sounds great!

g2morrow
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by g2morrow » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am

Network Engineer - about 50%.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am

True at analyst to manager levels, once you get to director though, downtime drops to zero.

Katietsu
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Katietsu » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am

Wow. I used to hear stories about jobs like that being common in the 70’s and 80’s. Didn’t know they still existed. Is your pay competitive?

stimulacra
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by stimulacra » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am

Marketing / Design / Video. 15-25% there's always something to catch up on.

mak1277
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am
True at analyst to manager levels, once you get to director though, downtime drops to zero.
Not always...

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iceport
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by iceport » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am

What in the world is "work downtime?" :?:

EDIT:

That's a serious question! People keep responding to report numbers, like they know exactly what's being asked. I have no concept of "work downtime." Does that mean time you spend goofing off while work goes undone? Or does that mean there is literally nothing for you to do, and you get paid to do nothing, with everyone's awareness, just to be available when some work does happen along? Honestly, I don't know what's being asked here...
Last edited by iceport on Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Topic Author
BogleMelon
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by BogleMelon » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:23 am

Katietsu wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am
Wow. I used to hear stories about jobs like that being common in the 70’s and 80’s. Didn’t know they still existed. Is your pay competitive?
Comparing to the job market, yes, very competitive. Comparing to what other Bogleheads making, not even close :D
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:25 am

mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am
True at analyst to manager levels, once you get to director though, downtime drops to zero.
Not always...
Feel free to share your experience

mak1277
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:27 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:25 am
mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am
True at analyst to manager levels, once you get to director though, downtime drops to zero.
Not always...
Feel free to share your experience
I'm at a Sr. VP level at a F1000 company and I haven't been more than 60-70% utilized in the last decade.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:31 am

mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:27 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:25 am
mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am
True at analyst to manager levels, once you get to director though, downtime drops to zero.
Not always...
Feel free to share your experience
I'm at a Sr. VP level at a F1000 company and I haven't been more than 60-70% utilized in the last decade.
Actually I can believe that VPs and above have more downtime than Directors. The latter tend to finally have enough experience and connections to get things done, so much of the real work falls to that level. VPs have the luxury to spend most of their time getting reports from below.

mak1277
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:33 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:31 am
mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:27 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:25 am
mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:22 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:21 am
True at analyst to manager levels, once you get to director though, downtime drops to zero.
Not always...
Feel free to share your experience
I'm at a Sr. VP level at a F1000 company and I haven't been more than 60-70% utilized in the last decade.
Actually I can believe that VPs and above have more downtime than Directors. The latter tend to finally have enough experience and connections to get things done, so much of the real work falls to that level. VPs have the luxury to spend most of their time getting reports from below.
But I wasn't hired as a VP.

The key at higher levels is finding people who are high quality to work for you. Then you can delegate all the "real work" and call it mentoring and staff development.

Texanbybirth
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:35 am

This thread is incredible. It's like my "oh, you too?!" moment. :beer

I would ask for a little bit of clarity on the OP's definition of "downtime", though I'm guessing the colloquial definition is good enough.
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

rich126
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by rich126 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:39 am

Do you mean how much free time (officially or unofficially) you have?

It is a rare day that I'm ever busy nearly start to end. I've often had 50% of my day where I get bored and find various things to do (play with different languages, research computer security stuff, financial, travel, etc.). When I was with one company that did government defense work, I would frequently ask for more stuff to do. I had to be careful because I didn't want to get too much to do.

I'm not sure if it is because I'm more efficient than others or what. Some people seem to be busy non-stop and need to work long hours. Maybe it is like in school where some people had to pull all-nighters in order to get decent grades whereas I didn't.

I have to stay at my current job until next spring but I'll be looking around to see if I can find something that interests me more and is a bit more challenging. I have about 3-4 years before retirement and would like to end it doing something I like and in a challenging environment. When you can find a good office with a good manager and good workers it helps to drive everyone forward some no one wants to be the person letting down others.

If I'm doing the same work as someone else for the same salary but have a ton of free time, should I really ask for more work if I'm not getting some kind of compensation (stock options, salary, etc.) for the extra work? Usually I ask just because trying to kill hours at work isn't a fun task (at least not to me) and I like to feel like I'm being productive. Personally I've never gone into any manager's office and asked for more compensation. If I want something more I just start interviewing around and leave. It just doesn't feel right to ask for something, if they want to keep me, then they should be proactive or risk losing the employee.

I had an interview with Google earlier this year but didn't make it to the second round of interviews since they were looking for someone with better knowledge of PKI stuff that I certainly didn't have. I kind of wonder how my career would have gone if I had gotten into a company like that when I was younger. I might have thrived in that kind of environment (as long as it wasn't in CA!).

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:47 am

rich126 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:39 am
I kind of wonder how my career would have gone if I had gotten into a company like that when I was younger. I might have thrived in that kind of environment (as long as it wasn't in CA!).
The tradeoff is you end up as a Director with zero downtime! 😅

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BogleMelon
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by BogleMelon » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:59 am

Texanbybirth wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:35 am


I would ask for a little bit of clarity on the OP's definition of "downtime",
A downtime during work: When you create/read Boglehead post(s) during the work time, using the company's computer! :D
"One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

mak1277
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:00 am

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:59 am
Texanbybirth wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:35 am


I would ask for a little bit of clarity on the OP's definition of "downtime",
A downtime during work: When you create/read Boglehead post(s) during the work time, using the company's computer! :D
Yep - if you look at my own posting history, I'd wager at least 95% of my posts are between 8am - 5pm, from my office at work.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:03 am

mak1277 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:00 am
BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:59 am
Texanbybirth wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:35 am


I would ask for a little bit of clarity on the OP's definition of "downtime",
A downtime during work: When you create/read Boglehead post(s) during the work time, using the company's computer! :D
Yep - if you look at my own posting history, I'd wager at least 95% of my posts are between 8am - 5pm, from my office at work.
Okay, that definition works.

I’d say my downtime is 50-60%. Using basic math, does that essentially mean I’m working 16-20 hours per week for 40 hours pay? Am I really that efficient?

(I posted this from my phone, just to make sure I’m not at 100%.)
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

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FlameChemist
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by FlameChemist » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:16 am

Research Scientist at a top 10 pharma company in R&D: large range anywhere from 30-70% I'd say average 40-45%. Whenever an infamous pharma re-org happens (tends to occur every 2-3 years for about 6 months), could float to 90% as all project work comes to a screeching halt.
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by MotoTrojan » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:18 am

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:59 am
Texanbybirth wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:35 am


I would ask for a little bit of clarity on the OP's definition of "downtime",
A downtime during work: When you create/read Boglehead post(s) during the work time, using the company's computer! :D
Hi from the office! Okay, back to work.

arf30
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by arf30 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:19 am

IT management role - usually 50%, but as high as 90% in the summer (slow period for my industry).

They're paying to have someone with your skillset and experience on staff, not to have you working at all times.

keystone
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by keystone » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:29 am

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am
Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Is that normal? Or should I keep looking till I find an employer who can utilize more of my time?
Wow, as a fellow accountant who has been doing it for 20ish years, I'd say stick with the gig that you have, unless you enjoy feeling busy/stressed all the time.

I've certainly had periods during the year where it was about 50%, but never a position where it was like that throughout the year. I've also had positions in the past where I wanted to accomplish 10 or so tasks in a day and only had time for 2 or 3. I personally don't enjoy that type of role, but I'm sure some people thrive off that.

Things that I like to do during downtime: improve Excel skills, continuing education (for CPA), read Bogleheads.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by mhc » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:49 am

I have long stretches of <5% and very short stretches of ~95%. The weighted average is probably <15%. Sounds like I am working way too hard as compared to others. I work on projects that span years. We need very little input from others once we receive a definition. We get our specification and then grind away for months. I love it.

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Tamarind
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Tamarind » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:56 am

20% max, down to 0%, but then I'm an IT consultant so my comp is actually connected to my utilization.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by jharkin » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:22 pm

Mechanical engineer by degree, but I have worked my entire career in software development for large specialist engineering/scientific software companies. Mostly in quality assurance, project management and program management roles from IC though director level management (30-50 reports).

I'd say over 20 years my average downtime was under 25%. Often negative as the job demands just couldn't be met in a 40 hour week. After big reorgs the load would spike particularly high as the survivors had to pick up the slack for people eliminated - deadlines never got relaxed.

In tech if you are bored it probably means somebody else on the team is carrying your weight to meet team deadlines.
Last edited by jharkin on Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jayk238
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by jayk238 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:29 pm

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am
Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Is that normal? Or should I keep looking till I find an employer who can utilize more of my time?
Wish i had that kind of time. I wonder if this is partly why doctors get paid a little better. I see 17 patients a day and have 15 mindown time to eat food and various bathroom breaks. I work 8 hrs and have no lunch. I have no time to finish all my notes so after my patient hours end i spend 2 hours finishing notes.

I am not salaried.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:38 pm

jayk238 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:29 pm
BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am
Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Is that normal? Or should I keep looking till I find an employer who can utilize more of my time?
Wish i had that kind of time. I wonder if this is partly why doctors get paid a little better. I see 17 patients a day and have 15 mindown time to eat food and various bathroom breaks. I work 8 hrs and have no lunch. I have no time to finish all my notes so after my patient hours end i spend 2 hours finishing notes.
I am not salaried.
+1 for wife at megabank.

There are the occasional days (usually Fridays) where she has some time to shop online, but most days it’s back-to-back, sometimes double booked, starting at 7 AM. I sometimes text her to make sure she’s either eaten or thrown out the sandwich her admin got her.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

crossbow
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by crossbow » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:39 pm

So. If I am busy with work from 9am - 12pm, have lunch between 12-1pm, surf BH from 1-5pm before leaving the office for the day and check email on my phone at 8pm, 9pm and 10pm, how much downtime did I have that day? :D

BoggledUp
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by BoggledUp » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:56 pm

Mid level finance/software. Adding value 1%, busywork 9%, downtime 90%.

Would anyone like a hand with anything?

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Horton
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Horton » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:13 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:38 pm
jayk238 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:29 pm
BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am
Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Is that normal? Or should I keep looking till I find an employer who can utilize more of my time?
Wish i had that kind of time. I wonder if this is partly why doctors get paid a little better. I see 17 patients a day and have 15 mindown time to eat food and various bathroom breaks. I work 8 hrs and have no lunch. I have no time to finish all my notes so after my patient hours end i spend 2 hours finishing notes.
I am not salaried.
+1 for wife at megabank.

There are the occasional days (usually Fridays) where she has some time to shop online, but most days it’s back-to-back, sometimes double booked, starting at 7 AM. I sometimes text her to make sure she’s either eaten or thrown out the sandwich her admin got her.
While not quite so bad, this is the type of schedule I see the most successful people of all ranks leading at my megacorp. My schedule isn’t packed with meetings so I have a high degree of flexibility, but my down time (working out, reading articles, etc.) is typically offset by performing work early in the morning before others arrive or while eating lunch. I couldn’t fathom just sitting around 50%+ of the time.

In total I probably spend 50 hours per week at the office, where 10 of those hours are down time. In terms of a 40 hour work week, this represents 0% down time.

Another observation...there seem to be more and more what I call Hawtch-Hawtcher Bee Watchers these days - i.e., people who are not actually responsible for doing work but rather for monitoring the work of others (project managers, program managers, product managers, etc.). These folks seem to have more time on their hands.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:24 pm

Horton wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:13 pm
Another observation...there seem to be more and more what I call Hawtch-Hawtcher Bee Watchers these days - i.e., people who are not actually responsible for doing work but rather for monitoring the work of others (project managers, program managers, product managers, etc.). These folks seem to have more time on their hands.
I always took it pretty hard when I’d have to lay people off or outright fire them. Exceptions to that emotion were:
Bee Watchers
Goldbrickers.

I never had any bullies working for me, but truth be told, I enjoyed watching them get it in the neck.

As a caveat to the Bee Watcher thing, some of the project managers were really valuable, and they served to keep projects on track. They were the exception, and they usually were promoted into the position from being individual contributors.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by runner3081 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:06 pm

BogleMelon wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:17 am
Accountant here.
I estimate my work downtime by about 50-60%. It has been like that through my whole career (a lot of employers - 19 years so far) with few exceptions/days.
Right about the same. Thus why on BH at work.

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iceport
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by iceport » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:06 pm

I sure am glad I didn't happen upon a thread like this while I was working! Man, would that have pissed me off! Especially because for the vast majority of my career I worked in the public sector, where the common stereotype is that of lazy, undedicated and inefficient employees whose pay was virtually a gift paid by taxpayers. I am amazed there so much inefficiency in the private sector — and so high up.

I my field of engineering, projects can take 6 months to 4 years to complete, with the average being about 2.5 - 3 years. Design crews are typically assigned more projects than can humanly be completed on schedule. For just about the entirety of my career, each workday was a rather frantic attempt at deadline triage. Any time spent completing one task on one project was time being sacrificed on another task for another project. These competing demands followed me up the ladder. I always had more work lined up than could possibly be completed.

I've heard other people, including those of my parents' generation, talk of "finishing my work" by a certain time of day, and that always left me scratching my head. The concept is completely foreign to me.

Sure, we weren't robots, and we'd steal some time here and there to socialize with our co-workers. But that's what it always felt like, stealing time, and it maybe averaged ~10% of the day. There was certainly never any "downtime" due to lack of work.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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Elsebet
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Elsebet » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm

The past few years I've been on 2 very busy (overwhelmed) teams where I was learning and having to ramp up on new technologies. I'd say I usually have less than 15% downtime on average and end up putting in over 40 hours regularly. However other IT jobs had much more downtime at some points and were busier at other times. Honestly I feel it all evens out.

Even when I have downtime I have a large list of things to learn/explore or things I'd like to refactor so I never really have time to just sit and browse. I do usually read a few threads on Bogleheads during the lunch I work through but that's it.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

mak1277
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:14 pm

Elsebet wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:07 pm
Even when I have downtime I have a large list of things to learn/explore or things I'd like to refactor so I never really have time to just sit and browse. I do usually read a few threads on Bogleheads during the lunch I work through but that's it.
I will say, it helps to have no intellectual curiosity about your job when dealing with downtime. I have no motivation whatsoever to learn new things about my job.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:21 pm

Senior director in a science department of a mid-size (~4,000 employee) health products company. Normally I'd say close to 50% and I rarely work over 40hrs/week, but for about 2-months leading up to an annual event downtime is almost zero and I am working over 60hrs/week. Boss will call or text me on weekends and all times of the night and I have to get him what he needs. In the middle of the madness right now, just under 3 weeks to go.

Transitioning into a very public-facing management role definitely increased downtime, but the trade-off is "on time" is more "on". Being a representative of the company to the public (speaking, videos/webinars, traveling to meet partners) is less total time, but far more exhausting than working in the lab or sitting in front of a computer.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by ClevrChico » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:06 pm

As far as downtime in tech, it's really up to the person and management. You can be close to 80%+ utilized if one seeks out new projects and management doesn't put the brakes on. (I hate being bored.)

If one wants 100% downtime, it's certainly possible to do little for a surprisingly long time and get paid very well. Just don't let your skills disappear.

I see huge opportunities in increasing productivity for anyone that can figure this out. :moneybag. The private sector is quite inefficient.

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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by GatorMD » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:24 pm

I find this thread baffling. As an Emergency Medicine Physician I can honestly say that during a 7a - 7p shift I would estimate about 5% or less downtime in order to eat or use the bathroom. There usually is a little more downtime on the overnight shifts but I’d much prefer to be busy. Fortunately I only work 8-10 clinical shifts per month so there’s plenty of downtime when I’m not at the hospital.

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yangtui
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by yangtui » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:32 pm

iceport wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:06 pm
Sure, we weren't robots, and we'd steal some time here and there to socialize with our co-workers. But that's what it always felt like, stealing time, and it maybe averaged ~10% of the day. There was certainly never any "downtime" due to lack of work.
I am paid to accomplish certain tasks by specified deadlines. My employer doesn't care how much time it takes me or what I am doing at any particular moment. If I start turning in shoddy work and/or start missing deadlines I would be in trouble. They try to balance my schedule so I am not burned out with work or twiddling my thumbs. As I get better at my job, I have more free time due to the assigned tasks taking less and less time to complete. A lot of white collar jobs are like this it seems. I have done some back of the envelope calcs and my employer is definitely getting their money's worth from me. If my employer decided to start looking at how busy I am at any given moment versus how much I am contributing to the bottom line I would very quickly start looking for a new job.
Last edited by yangtui on Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nate79
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:43 pm

Some of you have different careers than me and my direct reports (high level professionals). We have enough work to keep us busy during the time our employer is paying us and expecting us to work. Certainly there are some breaks and some time for other discussions that spark collaboration but no time for goofing off.

bstewie
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by bstewie » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:55 pm

<= 10%

Dude2
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Dude2 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:59 pm

I also find the thread baffling. I am tempted to get on a self-righteous high-horse. Engineer here. We optimize. If I am gainfully employed on some project, down time is 0%. Yes, there may be times between projects, but even then we are supposed to be doing something -- training on new tech, research, etc. In general, if I am goofing off for 5% of the day, then that is 5% I have to add to the end of work to make up for it. Right? I hate to say it, but is this a generational issue? I come from the part of the US where the Puritans instilled a work ethic into us. Sorry if this sounds condescending. If I were working for a place that let me float around doing nothing for more than half the day, I'd go crazy.

wootwoot
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by wootwoot » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:04 pm

GatorMD wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:24 pm
I find this thread baffling. As an Emergency Medicine Physician I can honestly say that during a 7a - 7p shift I would estimate about 5% or less downtime in order to eat or use the bathroom. There usually is a little more downtime on the overnight shifts but I’d much prefer to be busy. Fortunately I only work 8-10 clinical shifts per month so there’s plenty of downtime when I’m not at the hospital.
This thread is very baffling. I work in IT in a highly technical role and have ~25% downtime. This thread makes me think that I'm working too hard.

ImUrHuckleberry
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by ImUrHuckleberry » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:05 pm

Less than 5% downtime. I'm lucky if I can even take a lunch break most days.

fauxden
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by fauxden » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:17 pm

I run all day/everyday. Never any downtime. Need a new career. Pharmacist.

brokenrecord
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by brokenrecord » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:19 pm

It’s baffling how many people are using the word baffling.

I think it’s about how well you’re suited. I’m in sales and in previous roles, I had less than 15%. I’m in more of an enterprise sales role now with a fixed amount of customers/potential customers. The process is much longer and there seems to be much more downtime. I don’t think I’m well suited for this role, as I like the activity and “busy-ness”.

BlueCable
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by BlueCable » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:28 pm

I spend 10-15 minutes chatting at work each day, but I always have more work to do than time to do it. There are always more features in the backlog. Maybe another ten minutes walking to the coffee pots?

Career experiences with downtime have been situations where I needed to kick off some task (code compilation or a test) and then wait for result. Even then, there were usually other things to do as I waited.

lack_ey
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by lack_ey » Wed Aug 21, 2019 9:34 pm

Percentage? It's hard to say but including lunch, I guess 10% of the about 45-55 hours a week typically. There's perpetually weeks' worth of work waiting in the backlog that needs to eventually be done by someone on the team. Everybody on the scrum team keeps busy. That's all for one project; I'm also supposed to be spending about 10% time on another project but that tends to get deprioritized.

Nobody I deal with directly seems to have over 20% of downtime, whether they're at job grades above or below me (though I don't directly observe the full day of people outside tech, they all seem to be working most of the time), and all are working 40-55 hours or so. Doesn't matter if it's a junior IC, a more senior IC, senior manager with directs, director, senior director and above, etc.

I wish I had some more time to develop skills and plan project work better rather than grinding through tasks or taking part of meetings (the meetings are basically all important and productive).

Sounds like a lot more waste in other companies, I guess.

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