White collars- How much is your work downtime?

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

Post by Miakis » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:08 pm

Self Employed CPA. Downtime is about 25%, and entirely my fault. Since I'm self-employed, I could theoretically just work 25% less if I was more efficient, but I spend time chatting with employees, wasting time on the internet, etc. My downtime goes down substantially during my busiest season.

When I worked as an employee at a firm, my downtime was about 50%. Early in my career, I tried really hard and was super efficient - but then I got reprimanded and told to re-do some projects because I had finished them too quickly compared to previous employees. Since I was statistically outside the margins of the normal profit realization rates, they assumed I was cutting corners. I wasn't, but half the time it was my own supervisors who had worked on the project last year, so they weren't about to accept that I had done it in half the time that they had.

I learned to check the realization rate from the prior year and then I would waste time until I was able to turn it in with a slightly better realization rate than the previous employee, but not large enough to draw too much attention.

Busy season made no difference at a large firm. Status was measured in number of hours you sat there and warmed your seat. We were exempt employees with no paid overtime, so we were going to sit in that chair for 60 hours whether or not we worked efficiently, and working efficiently was frowned upon because it resulted in fewer billable hours per client.

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

Post by _Bacchus_ » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm

Dude2 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:59 pm
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.
IMO, definitely generational and definitely reads as condescending. Sounds like something a boomer would say, especially the reference to Puritans. Why would you assume that someone with downtime is "floating" around doing nothing?

If you're hired to do a job, and you do that job satisfactorily, what difference does it make if it takes you 10 hours a week to do it, or 60 hours a week?

Personally, I work in technology for a financial services company. If a standard work week is 40 hrs, I'll range any where from 5-30 hrs of work a week depending on what comes across my inbox and what projects are going on.
Last edited by _Bacchus_ on Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

gazelle1991
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by gazelle1991 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:12 pm

I work in consulting. Down time is a strange concept. We bill by the hour. Whatever downtime you steal from work, you make up at night doing work off the clock. I thought that's is how things are done in America as where I came from it is common to have 50-75% downtime most days.

I guess I just need to find an industry job with a lot of downtime so I can browse BH more often on company's time :)

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:46 pm

_Bacchus_ wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm
Dude2 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:59 pm
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.
If you're hired to do a job, and you do that job satisfactorily, what difference does it make if it takes you 10 hours a week to do it, or 60 hours a week?
Has nothing to do with age/generation. I have individuals working for me ranging from 21 to over 60, their age is in no way correlated with their productivity and how much they actually work. In fact, I have a few who are "retired in place" that I can not get rid of. I am never "out worked", that's how I have moved up the ladder (half my staff are far more intellectually capable than I am, but I have a reputation for getting things done), but that doesn't mean I work more total time.

Employers are definitely becoming less concerned about someone being physically in an office and for a specific period of time, and more concerned about actually getting the job done. If anything, that is where the generational disconnect is. My wife's boss is older and requires his employees to be in the office at least 40hrs/week even though (as he is well aware, and doesn't care because she keeps his entire department afloat) my wife is literally doing school work half the time.

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

Post by knightrider » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:08 pm

I average ~70% downtime as an engineer in various megacorps for 20 years. A lot depends on the boss. Most have been hands off. Only once I had an Indian boss who was a nightmare. I had to always have some "results" to talk about in 1-1's.

I always follow the rule, "work smart, not hard". And, "It is better to do nothing than be busy doing nothing".. A lot of people I see working hard are quite inefficient. They obsess over irrelevant details and fail to see the bigger picture.

I wonder how people with no downtime have time for managing finances, hobbies, family, health, romance, current events etc??

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

Post by smitcat » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:11 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:12 am
mak1277 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:11 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:26 am
That is, there is always work to be done but it doesn't necessarily need to be done right this second. I have deadlines for many things months out as I sit here. I could do them now, or next week, or next month, as long as they get done.
This is a great point. Personally, I am almost totally deadline driven. If I know something will take 2 days to do and it's due in a month, I won't even start thinking about it until 2 1/2 days before it's due.
And I'm the total opposite. If I have a deadline in 30 days, I have it done in 3 and then coast.
Agreed - I would finish it in 3 days and take on another project or work on starting a business.

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

Post by an_asker » Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:37 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:08 pm
I average ~70% downtime as an engineer in various megacorps for 20 years. A lot depends on the boss. Most have been hands off. Only once I had an Indian boss who was a nightmare. I had to always have some "results" to talk about in 1-1's.

I always follow the rule, "work smart, not hard". And, "It is better to do nothing than be busy doing nothing".. A lot of people I see working hard are quite inefficient. They obsess over irrelevant details and fail to see the bigger picture.
I have learned (maybe this is just in the companies I've worked at) that one is much better off making a big hue and cry about how much one has been working than quietly and efficiently (and quickly) working. Person A, who complains a lot and makes it as if he/she has moved a mountain while accomplishing X, is viewed much more favorably by management that Person B, who finishes tasks quickly without complaining and accomplishes 2X in the same amount of time.
I wonder how people with no downtime have time for managing finances, hobbies, family, health, romance, current events etc??
Those people accomplish all those outside of work. I am assuming this "downtime" question is specifically referring to time in the office.

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

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:12 pm

an_asker wrote:I have learned (maybe this is just in the companies I've worked at) that one is much better off making a big hue and cry about how much one has been working than quietly and efficiently (and quickly) working. Person A, who complains a lot and makes it as if he/she has moved a mountain while accomplishing X, is viewed much more favorably by management that Person B, who finishes tasks quickly without complaining and accomplishes 2X in the same amount of time.
There is a lot of that around, but most often it’s the fault of the manager, or the prevailing company culture. It’s unfortunate if you haven’t had an opportunity to see how enjoyable it is to work with honest colleagues and astute management. I think 90% of my career was like that, and it made a huge difference in my job satisfaction.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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

Post by knightrider » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:40 pm

an_asker wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:37 pm
I wonder how people with no downtime have time for managing finances, hobbies, family, health, romance, current events etc??
Those people accomplish all those outside of work. I am assuming this "downtime" question is specifically referring to time in the office.
If you're single it's possible to squeeze some of those things in after work. But once you have kids, fuggedaboutit!

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

Post by henry » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:43 pm

A few MDs have chimed in and I will too. I am an internist. Very little downtime, less than 10% on average, perhaps even "negative" many days as I am at the hospital past my scheduled work hours on many days. Skip lunch often. Even If I get done seeing all my patients early, there is documentation (note writing) to do, phone calls to return, and unscheduled emergencies/consults to attend to. I am definitely less efficient than many of my colleagues in my practice but I would estimate even that even the fastest and most productive have 20% downtime or less. I am payed by salary with a productivity bonus. Fortunately, work only about 15 days a month.

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

Post by FIREchief » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:48 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:08 pm
It was a phenomenon in factories too. (If the machines weren't breaking, the maintenance crews were still paid.)
Actually, if machines aren't breaking it is in large part due to them being properly maintained by the hard working maintenance crews! :beer
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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

Post by simplesimon » Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:59 pm

In a role that is dependent on deal flow. When the deals come in - $$$ is to be made and requires a lot of hours to close in a short time window. When the markets are slow then things are pretty quiet.

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

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:25 pm

I'm a civil engineer working in an office 99% of the time. My downtime is probably somewhere around 20%. It has varied over the years, probably from 5% to 40%, for stretches of time. I spend a fair amount of time catching up on the news, doing personal things, online shopping, etc, but it's no more than an hour a day, cumulatively.

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

Post by Glockenspiel » Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:28 pm

mak1277 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:11 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:26 am
That is, there is always work to be done but it doesn't necessarily need to be done right this second. I have deadlines for many things months out as I sit here. I could do them now, or next week, or next month, as long as they get done.
This is a great point. Personally, I am almost totally deadline driven. If I know something will take 2 days to do and it's due in a month, I won't even start thinking about it until 2 1/2 days before it's due.

I am similar. Say there are 10 deadlines in a month. I'll pick them off in order of what is due first, and what is most important.

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

Post by an_asker » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:05 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:40 pm
an_asker wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:37 pm
I wonder how people with no downtime have time for managing finances, hobbies, family, health, romance, current events etc??
Those people accomplish all those outside of work. I am assuming this "downtime" question is specifically referring to time in the office.
If you're single it's possible to squeeze some of those things in after work. But once you have kids, fuggedaboutit!
Depends on kids - mine are pretty independent - and job. But yes, if you spend 60 hours or more on job (including commute), I see your point!

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

Post by an_asker » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:10 pm

Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:28 pm
mak1277 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:11 am
Admiral wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:26 am
That is, there is always work to be done but it doesn't necessarily need to be done right this second. I have deadlines for many things months out as I sit here. I could do them now, or next week, or next month, as long as they get done.
This is a great point. Personally, I am almost totally deadline driven. If I know something will take 2 days to do and it's due in a month, I won't even start thinking about it until 2 1/2 days before it's due.

I am similar. Say there are 10 deadlines in a month. I'll pick them off in order of what is due first, and what is most important.
That is what's called working smart - and what I have not been good at (now I'm learning). If you have something that's due in 30 days, and you finish it tomorrow guess what? You'll get more work to do. In the meantime, your co-worker, who's been twiddling his/her thumbs, is relaxing - and has down time ;-)

End of the year - you get the same raise (or maybe you get less than your co-worker - who moaned about how hard he/she had to work).

But yes, I am learning :-)

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

Post by an_asker » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:13 pm

Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:25 pm
I'm a civil engineer working in an office 99% of the time. My downtime is probably somewhere around 20%. It has varied over the years, probably from 5% to 40%, for stretches of time. I spend a fair amount of time catching up on the news, doing personal things, online shopping, etc, but it's no more than an hour a day, cumulatively.
Question for you: don't you have to fill your timesheets? Don't you need to be billable? Long long ago, when I was not in IT, I had that sword of Democles hanging on my head. Needed to be highly (90%) billable as well as meet outrageous expectation - firm used to underbid (my opinion). It was a great feeling of relief when I left that job behind and entered IT.

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

Post by TheMadEph » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:51 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.
Ha - my partners is EM doc and same as you - super busy at work, but only 8-10 shifts a month. I am complete opposite. have to show up at office, go to meetings, etc. but TONS of down time even when i am "busy". But overall the stress of my job is probably more disruptive to me/my lifestyle and I am more likely to retire sooner, as my partner loves the job. If I made less money than my partner I would have quit already, but gonna keep cashing checks for a while - and looking for a little more interesting stuff at work.

Rkoa63
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Rkoa63 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:09 pm

I'm a CPA at a F1000 company and would say that if I averaged it out over the course of a year, it would be around 40-50%. Things have been painfully slow over the past couple of months but now we're in state tax compliance season until around mid-November so I'll probably have very little downtime with some OT sprinkled in.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:10 pm

Negative 15%

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

Post by john_nh » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:11 pm

This thread was an eye-opener for me. As others have said, I didn't even know what was meant by "downtime" and would never have imagined it was so prevalent.

I am an electrical engineer (semiconductor industry) and my downtime is about -12.5%. Yep, negative. I am salaried and conservatively average an extra hour of work every day (excluding breaks and lunch) and often put in more time than that. However, I do enjoy my job and find it challenging and fulfilling and it is really my personal choice to put in longer hours. But I can say that there certainly is never a shortage of available work, that is for sure! In addition, I feel that I am paid well and my company has historically been good at recognizing and rewarding extra effort. As such, I sometimes view my overtime as being a replacement for perhaps a second job or sideline.

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

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:17 pm

john_nh wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:11 pm
This thread was an eye-opener for me. As others have said, I didn't even know what was meant by "downtime" and would never have imagined it was so prevalent.

I am an electrical engineer (semiconductor industry) and my downtime is about -12.5%. Yep, negative. I am salaried and conservatively average an extra hour of work every day (excluding breaks and lunch) and often put in more time than that. However, I do enjoy my job and find it challenging and fulfilling and it is really my personal choice to put in longer hours. But I can say that there certainly is never a shortage of available work, that is for sure! In addition, I feel that I am paid well and my company has historically been good at recognizing and rewarding extra effort. As such, I sometimes view my overtime as being a replacement for perhaps a second job or sideline.
I am shocked it took 3 pages before two of us jumped in with the negative answer.
Now I know why my company is more successful than many others out there. We have a culture of working hard versus one of hardly working :)

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:29 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:17 pm
john_nh wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:11 pm
This thread was an eye-opener for me. As others have said, I didn't even know what was meant by "downtime" and would never have imagined it was so prevalent.

I am an electrical engineer (semiconductor industry) and my downtime is about -12.5%. Yep, negative. I am salaried and conservatively average an extra hour of work every day (excluding breaks and lunch) and often put in more time than that. However, I do enjoy my job and find it challenging and fulfilling and it is really my personal choice to put in longer hours. But I can say that there certainly is never a shortage of available work, that is for sure! In addition, I feel that I am paid well and my company has historically been good at recognizing and rewarding extra effort. As such, I sometimes view my overtime as being a replacement for perhaps a second job or sideline.
I am shocked it took 3 pages before two of us jumped in with the negative answer.
Now I know why my company is more successful than many others out there. We have a culture of working hard versus one of hardly working :)
It's interesting seeing posters say they have zero "down time' yet are posting when everybody else is at work.

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StevieG72
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by StevieG72 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:35 pm

I just realized that I am not white collar.

Technically not blue collar either.

I guess I am collarless! Downtime at work is equal to zero. There is something that gets left not done every day.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

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

Post by john_nh » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:45 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:29 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:17 pm
john_nh wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:11 pm
This thread was an eye-opener for me. As others have said, I didn't even know what was meant by "downtime" and would never have imagined it was so prevalent.

I am an electrical engineer (semiconductor industry) and my downtime is about -12.5%. Yep, negative. I am salaried and conservatively average an extra hour of work every day (excluding breaks and lunch) and often put in more time than that. However, I do enjoy my job and find it challenging and fulfilling and it is really my personal choice to put in longer hours. But I can say that there certainly is never a shortage of available work, that is for sure! In addition, I feel that I am paid well and my company has historically been good at recognizing and rewarding extra effort. As such, I sometimes view my overtime as being a replacement for perhaps a second job or sideline.
I am shocked it took 3 pages before two of us jumped in with the negative answer.
Now I know why my company is more successful than many others out there. We have a culture of working hard versus one of hardly working :)
It's interesting seeing posters say they have zero "down time' yet are posting when everybody else is at work.
I am on Eastern Standard Time and it is 7:42pm here. I arrived at work at 6:15am this morning and left at 4:30pm and took a little over an hour for lunch. If I check Bogleheads.org at work, it is almost exclusively during my lunch break.

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

Post by ClevrChico » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:49 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:48 pm
ClevrChico wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:08 pm
It was a phenomenon in factories too. (If the machines weren't breaking, the maintenance crews were still paid.)
Actually, if machines aren't breaking it is in large part due to them being properly maintained by the hard working maintenance crews! :beer
Very true! And tech is quite similar. :sharebeer

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

Post by hmw » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:52 pm

henry wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:43 pm
A few MDs have chimed in and I will too. I am an internist. Very little downtime, less than 10% on average, perhaps even "negative" many days as I am at the hospital past my scheduled work hours on many days. Skip lunch often. Even If I get done seeing all my patients early, there is documentation (note writing) to do, phone calls to return, and unscheduled emergencies/consults to attend to. I am definitely less efficient than many of my colleagues in my practice but I would estimate even that even the fastest and most productive have 20% downtime or less. I am payed by salary with a productivity bonus. Fortunately, work only about 15 days a month.

Probably very specialty dependent. I am a surgeon. I have zero downtime when I am doing clinics. But I usually have more downtime when I am in surgery. Turn over time between cases can be brutally long at some hospitals. Academic centers are the worst.

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

Post by edgeagg » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:55 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:49 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:48 pm
ClevrChico wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:08 pm
It was a phenomenon in factories too. (If the machines weren't breaking, the maintenance crews were still paid.)
Actually, if machines aren't breaking it is in large part due to them being properly maintained by the hard working maintenance crews! :beer
Very true! And tech is quite similar. :sharebeer
In a previous job, in tech, breaking things was partly a feature (you can guess where that was). In that case, though very well compensated, downtime was minimal for engineers. Soylent is pretty common in Silicon Valley startups, alas.

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

Post by stoptothink » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:59 pm

john_nh wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:45 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:29 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:17 pm
john_nh wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:11 pm
This thread was an eye-opener for me. As others have said, I didn't even know what was meant by "downtime" and would never have imagined it was so prevalent.

I am an electrical engineer (semiconductor industry) and my downtime is about -12.5%. Yep, negative. I am salaried and conservatively average an extra hour of work every day (excluding breaks and lunch) and often put in more time than that. However, I do enjoy my job and find it challenging and fulfilling and it is really my personal choice to put in longer hours. But I can say that there certainly is never a shortage of available work, that is for sure! In addition, I feel that I am paid well and my company has historically been good at recognizing and rewarding extra effort. As such, I sometimes view my overtime as being a replacement for perhaps a second job or sideline.
I am shocked it took 3 pages before two of us jumped in with the negative answer.
Now I know why my company is more successful than many others out there. We have a culture of working hard versus one of hardly working :)
It's interesting seeing posters say they have zero "down time' yet are posting when everybody else is at work.
I am on Eastern Standard Time and it is 7:42pm here. I arrived at work at 6:15am this morning and left at 4:30pm and took a little over an hour for lunch. If I check Bogleheads.org at work, it is almost exclusively during my lunch break.
There are a few posters in this thread who shared the same sentiment, who coincidentally are pretty darn active on this board and during normal work hours. With 7 posts in over a year, no reason whatsoever to doubt you.

PowderDay9
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by PowderDay9 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:39 pm

Isn't this thread full of selection bias? People who have a lot of downtime at work are much more likely to post on here. People who have no downtime can't post during business hours. Presumably they get home from work and are busy doing other things as well. Whereas people with downtime during the day can get some personal things done on company time.

I've worked for several different companies across the country and most people I've seen have less than 20% downtime. There's a list of plenty of things/projects to work on and an endless supply of work. If somebody consistently has 50% or more downtime for a long period of time then that employee is mismanaged in my opinion. Either give them more work, make them part-time or reduce staff.

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

Post by an_asker » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:56 pm

tim1999 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:13 pm
[...]
My downtime generally ranges from probably 20% to 70% depending on the time of the year and what fires need to be put out that day. I've had entire days in the period between Christmas and New Year where I've only had about 15 minutes of legitimate work to do.

Even though I'm on salary like most individual contributors at my company, the company has an unspoken culture such that even if your downtime is 50%+ that week, they expect your rear end to be sitting in your chair for not a minute less than 40 hours per week unless you are taking PTO.

I have a lot of co-workers with similar downtime that needlessly complicate things and over-analyze details to appear busier and kill time. I avoid interacting with some of these people in my projects because they will turn a simple 5 minute answer into an hour long investigation that involves searching for files from 10 years ago and consulting 3 other people to reach the same conclusion. Oh, and of course they always complain about how they are "soooooooo busy."
Wow! I really thought I was just "lucky" to be in such a work culture! Same work culture here. Plus there are favorites who get perks and raises that others don't get.

I don't know how it is in your company but in mine, such folks invariably get treated better and get better raises etc.

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

Post by nydoc » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:58 pm

About 25% during the regular work. 90% when I am on paid overnight call.

Galaxy8
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Galaxy8 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:25 pm

Emergency physician here. I am 100% go for my entire 8 to 10 hour shift. I rarely eat and almost never get a bathroom break. Fortunately, I usually finish my coffee while it's still luke warm. And then I usually stay 1-2 hours late after my shift is over. So taking all that into account, my work downtime is about -10 to -20% (yea, negative).

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

Post by Starfish » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:17 pm

I don’t trust this thread because people have very different definitions of downtime and work.
For example if I stay at work 12 hours and work 6 vs being at work 6 hours and work 6 does not change to work achieved.
Or are meetings work? Is walking around work? Is discussing professional issues work?
In my mind if I am at work most of the day is ridiculous to expect to have no social life or to eat my lunch at my desk or work during lunchtime. And for me and my friends there is almost no work discussion acceptable at lunch.

Pepper11
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by Pepper11 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 10:29 pm

Physician. 0%

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

Post by HornedToad » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:04 pm

Engineer. Maybe 10% but work 50+ hours/week, so its more a matter of not being as efficient and needing to take a break to check bogleheads/espn/etc. Not true downtime where there is nothing to do at work.

There's a reason people say if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the office. I need to learn to say NO more often.

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

Post by Regattamom » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:28 pm

Does travel count as "work" in this evaluation? Because if you did, my husband would be at -50 to -65 percent. It's a drag but the air miles and other perks are nice.

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

Post by themuse » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:31 pm

As I've moved up the ladder, I've lost most of "my" downtime to meetings. Honestly, downtimes were probably more useful as I would read up and/or recharge, or start some side project (work related), and in some way or the other it would all end up helping the company by improving my productivity and yield. These days I am going from meeting to meeting and spending the remaining available time on 1:1s and barely catching up on emails (responding to more meeting requests).

Productivity and downtimes are not always mutually exclusive in areas like tech. The trend of "work on your own stuff for 20% of your time" made famous at Google and elsewhere is a different way to formalize and encourage downtime as well. IMHO.
--themuse-- | | Investing should be boring

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

Post by noco-hawkeye » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:48 am

10-15% best case, engineer.

I've had jobs where it's something closer to 40% or more, and I cannot stand it. I need to be busy and challenged, and look for jobs that combine the workload with a fun team. When you find a job that keeps you that busy, and is a fun team to work with - the days fly by and you really develop your own career (my $.02).

As I get closer to being FI I've thought about a more laid back job - but it just doesn't suit me. Maybe I'd be better working like crazy but try to cut back the hours to 20-30 / week.

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

Post by jharkin » Fri Aug 23, 2019 6:48 am

_Bacchus_ wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:10 pm
Dude2 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:59 pm
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.
IMO, definitely generational and definitely reads as condescending. Sounds like something a boomer would say, especially the reference to Puritans. Why would you assume that someone with downtime is "floating" around doing nothing?

If you're hired to do a job, and you do that job satisfactorily, what difference does it make if it takes you 10 hours a week to do it, or 60 hours a week?

Personally, I work in technology for a financial services company. If a standard work week is 40 hrs, I'll range any where from 5-30 hrs of work a week depending on what comes across my inbox and what projects are going on.
The difference is some of us cant stomach to finish the job in 10 hours and sit there doing nothing the rest of the week. I finish things early all the the time but when I do I let the colleagues who depend on my work know and work with my supervisor to find something new to do.

I suspect its a fundamental difference between the industry I am in (high tech/ software - if we dont move fast, innovate and stay ahead of the competition we die) and more schedule/contract/deadline based fields like accounting, finance. In the businesses I am in keeping the foot on the gas is basically expected of employees who want to advance. People who coast stay stuck in the same job (at best) or get managed out eventually....

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

Post by bottlecap » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:40 am

This thread is eye-opening. I never knew people got paid to do nothing, although clearly no one is 100% efficient.

Most people take some mental breaks during the day, including me. But in all the jobs I’ve had their was no real "downtime" built into the job, as in nothing to do. Either you had enough to do or you were supposed to spend your time seeking out more work. Sometimes there would be a lag between seeking work and actually getting it, but once you got it you had twice as much work as you could handle.

Makes me feel underpaid!

JT

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

Post by stoptothink » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:40 am

bottlecap wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:40 am
This thread is eye-opening. I never knew people got paid to do nothing, although clearly no one is 100% efficient.

Most people take some mental breaks during the day, including me. But in all the jobs I’ve had their was no real "downtime" built into the job, as in nothing to do. Either you had enough to do or you were supposed to spend your time seeking out more work. Sometimes there would be a lag between seeking work and actually getting it, but once you got it you had twice as much work as you could handle.

Makes me feel underpaid!

JT

Everybody's definition is different. If you've ever posted on this (or any) board at work, IMO you can not honestly say you have no down time (which pretty much eliminates every poster that responded saying they have no down time, except john_nh who has 7 posts in a year). Everybody always has something they can be doing, but that doesn't mean something is actively being done every second of the day. My personal definition is when you are not actively engaged in work. So, your "mental breaks" are the epitome of down time to me. A few weeks ago I went from Philadelphia to Baltimore to Florida to New Mexico over the course of the week to meet with 2 of our research partners and 2 of the professional athletic teams we partner with. My actual time with our partners was <10hrs, the rest of the time I was pretty much traveling. I probably spent another 3-5hrs answering emails and writing. IMO, I had 25+ hours of down time in that work week. I represented our company on local TV two weeks ago, I was in front of the camera for <15min, the rest of the day was traveling there and back, waiting, hair and make-up (literally the worst part of my job), etc. As far as I am concerned, I had 7+ hours of "down time" that day.

There are definitely some occupations where my definition of down time is rare (ER physician is the obvious one, and that's exactly why they work less shifts than most other jobs), for most of those saying you have no down time, I doubt your actual workday or level of engagement/production is different than those of us saying ours is plentiful.

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

Post by rbaldini » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:51 am

Join a small start up company with an aggressive culture if you actually want to work efficiently. The per capita productivity difference between my current job and previous corporate jobs is astounding.

IAhead1322
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by IAhead1322 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:59 am

CPA in industry, Manager level. Jan-March probably 5% downtime, usually working 65 hour weeks. Rest of the year 80-85% downtime.

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

Post by bgatze » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:04 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.
+1 went from 50%-60% downtime at Analyst level into manager roles, now in a directors role it is always 0
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” | ― Margaret Mead

new2bogle
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by new2bogle » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:07 am

95% downtime this week.

Most weeks I am hard pressed to even have 35 hours of just face time, much less work time. Some weeks I have 50 hours of 100% work time. I estimate 60% downtime on average.

I am salaried - I am paid for my expertise to get the job done, not sit around twiddling my thumbs.

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

Post by sheepla » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:10 am

I'm blown away by this thread. I can grab five minutes of downtime here and there but it is very rare. I work 60 hours a week.
I would actually hate to have as much downtime as many of you. My work days fly by!

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

Post by Glockenspiel » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:48 am

an_asker wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:13 pm
Glockenspiel wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 4:25 pm
I'm a civil engineer working in an office 99% of the time. My downtime is probably somewhere around 20%. It has varied over the years, probably from 5% to 40%, for stretches of time. I spend a fair amount of time catching up on the news, doing personal things, online shopping, etc, but it's no more than an hour a day, cumulatively.
Question for you: don't you have to fill your timesheets? Don't you need to be billable? Long long ago, when I was not in IT, I had that sword of Democles hanging on my head. Needed to be highly (90%) billable as well as meet outrageous expectation - firm used to underbid (my opinion). It was a great feeling of relief when I left that job behind and entered IT.
Yes I have to fill out my timesheet so our clients can get billed for the time I worked for them. My company isn’t as strict as the last company I worked for. If I have 75% utilization rate, I’m fine. At my last company, my goal was 90% and they were pretty intent on you meeting it.

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

Post by TN_Boy » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:22 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:08 pm
I average ~70% downtime as an engineer in various megacorps for 20 years. A lot depends on the boss. Most have been hands off. Only once I had an Indian boss who was a nightmare. I had to always have some "results" to talk about in 1-1's.

I always follow the rule, "work smart, not hard". And, "It is better to do nothing than be busy doing nothing".. A lot of people I see working hard are quite inefficient. They obsess over irrelevant details and fail to see the bigger picture.

I wonder how people with no downtime have time for managing finances, hobbies, family, health, romance, current events etc??
I'm not going crazy hard every day, but as a somewhat senior techie at more than one megacorp, there were always things to be done. It wasn't like my only task was "code function X" by Friday and if I got that done on Thursday I could surf the web all day Friday.

Not counting lunch hour, or times of project upheaval (reorganization for example) I'd say my down time averaged 10 to 20 percent. I did find that efficient use of regular working hours meant less time logged in at night and weekends.

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220volt
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Re: White collars- How much is your work downtime?

Post by 220volt » Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:14 pm

Large work downtime is explained in the book Bull**it Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber and some other economists. Technology made certain jobs so efficient that 40-60% of the work is wasted on trivial activities, but we are still required to work 8 hours/day and be at work on time so that the company looks legit and presentable.
But it gets worse – A senior VP for example, cannot justify his job by having only a single director under him, so he hires another. That director then hires few managers to justify his own job. Managers hire more people than necessary to justify their own jobs and into regression we go. Before long, we have this huge field of warm bodies showing up for work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week spending 80% of their time on time fillers and made-up duties when the whole thing could be done efficiently with 20% of the staff in 4 hour time.
Some jobs are so pointless and unnecessary that even employees cannot justify its existence. This doesn’t apply to all jobs of course and the book goes into much more detail.
"If I had only followed the advice of financial analysts in 2008, I'd have a million dollars today, provided I started with a hundred million dollars" - Jon Stewart

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