PHILADELPHIA—A new study published Tuesday by researchers at the Wharton School of Business found that each year, U.S. employees waste 2 million hours spending time with their friends and family. “More than 135 million individuals are employed full-time in this country, and collectively, they squander a staggering number of what could be work hours on quality time with the people in their lives,” said labor economist and study co-author Eric Rothbard, who explained that across every sector of the economy, working Americans throw away an average of 53 seconds annually, time that could have been used to increase their productivity on the job. “That’s nearly an entire minute that might be spent in a cubicle, on the factory floor, or in a meeting, but was instead diverted toward tasks such as having a drink with an old friend, reading a book to a child, or spending the night with one’s partner. It’s a flagrant inefficiency we expect most employers will soon move to eliminate.” Asked if there might be some benefit inherent in basic human camaraderie, Rothbard pointed out that on their deathbed, no one ever said, “I wish I’d spent more time with the people I love and care about most in this world.”
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