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The French champions of dispersion at work


A business meeting. Illustrative photo. (ERIC AUDRAS / MAXPPP)

Reading his emails takes a long time. Classify them. Search for information, check the status of a project, manage changing priorities. Attend unnecessary meetings. Small tasks which are not really work and which the international study nicely calls “work about work”. The “work around work” itself. These are not directly productive tasks, and yet, according to this study conducted by Asana, a teamwork management platform, they go so far as to take us more time than the work we are actually paid for. And in this area, the French would be the champions. The study surveyed more than 13,000 employees in eight countries, including the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. And we take the first step of the podium: in France, we spend 66% of our time on these peripheral tasks, on “work about work”.

Basically, we disperse. The study specifies that we would spend five hours a week redoing work that has already been done by colleagues. And that we would waste three hours a week attending meetings that do not concern us. Again, this is more than the average for other countries. Moreover, nearly a third of French employees wish that in 2021, the number of meetings and video calls be reduced. Audio and videoconferences which have had the effect of exploding working hours. Already, last October, a very serious study conducted by Harvard Business School and New York University had established that teleworking had led us to do 48.5 minutes of work more per day. The study goes further: according to it, 87% of employees say they work two hours more each day since they are teleworking.

Also according to this study, 82% of French workers have difficulty disconnecting, in second place of the eight countries studied. It would be enough, they say, if the processes were improved to save nearly six hours of work per week. This would allow them to have a better balance between professional and personal life. And, for half of them, reduce their stress.

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