Do you read online news or send personal emails and text messages when you should be working? You’re not alone, according to new research.

Eighty per cent of UK employees admitted to taking part in these sorts of non-work activities – termed ‘desk skiving’ – in a recent survey.

And they are spending considerable time on tasks such as browsing news sites, conducting personal research via search engines, sending personal texts and shopping online.

Just how much? A third of respondents said they spent 15 to 30 minutes a day on personal activities – equivalent to 14 days per year – while eight per cent said they spent more than two hours a day.

A virtuous 21 per cent said they did not do this at all or only on scheduled breaks.

Women are twice as likely as men to spend more than two hours ‘desk skiving’, while the older a worker is, the less likely he is to do it at all.

The top reason was ‘needing to get something personal done in a hurry’, but 30 per cent said it was because they were required to work extra hours and through lunch.

Most workers believe their bosses don’t mind their ‘desk skiving’ habits though, with over half saying their employers think ‘it is OK within limits’.

The findings are based on a survey of nearly 1,500 UK employees with internet and mobile phone access.

More here.