CareerBuilder Looks at Office Life by the Numbers
PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The rat race, the daily grind, the "real world," as college students refer to it - CareerBuilder takes a look at an average American work day, by the numbers. The study of more than 3,900 U.S. workers was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from November 1 to November 30, 2012.

Get Up and Go
It may be the most important meal of the day, but almost a quarter of workers skip breakfast on a regular basis. Among those who do squeeze in a quick meal before hitting the road, cereal, fruit, eggs or oatmeal are the top breakfast choices.

  • Cereal: 31 percent
  • Fruit: 19 percent
  • Eggs: 19 percent
  • Oatmeal: 18 percent
  • Toast: 16 percent
  • Bagel: 13 percent
  • Doughnut: 6 percent
  • I don't eat breakfast: 23 percent

After fueling up on breakfast, a vast majority of workers take their car to work.

  • Car: 83 percent
  • Train: 5 percent
  • Bus: 3 percent
  • Walk: 3 percent
  • Bike: 1 percent

While very few workers turn their commute into a workout, about half take the stairs once they get to the office, with 51 percent climbing at least one flight of stairs to their office, and 14 percent climbing 5 floors or more.  Flights climbed in a typical workday:

  • None: 49 percent
  • 1 flight: 14 percent
  • 2 flights: 12 percent
  • 3 flights: 6 percent
  • 4 flights: 5 percent
  • 5 or more flights: 14 percent

Dress Code
Dress codes have relaxed over the years.  Employers were most likely to report having a business casual environment, while a third of offices allow employees to sport jeans.

  • Business casual: 43 percent
  • Jeans: 33 percent
  • Uniform: 21 percent
  • Business suit: 4 percent

Hair styles have seen different trends over the years, but in most offices it's business as usual. A middle part is the most popular style, driven largely by younger workers. Forty-four percent of workers ages 18-24 part their hair in the middle, compared to only 23 percent of workers age 55 and older. Overall, 34 percent of workers prefer a middle part in their hair.

  • Left: 30 percent
  • Right: 23 percent
  • Middle: 34 percent
  • Bald: 14 percent

Office Life
The majority of people are frequently away from their desks; 40 percent of workers say they get up from their desks 10 or more times in a typical work day. However, men are less likely to get up from their desk during the day than women, with 20 percent of men saying they leave their desks one time or less in a workday, compared to 12 percent of women. 

  • 0 times- 15 percent
  • 1 time- 2 percent
  • 2 times- 4 percent
  • 3 times- 7 percent
  • 4 times- 8 percent
  • 5-9 times- 24 percent
  • 10 or more times- 40 percent

Similarly, 39 percent of workers say they eat lunch at their desk every day of the week.

  • Every day: 39 percent
  • 3-4 times a week: 18 percent
  • 1-2 times a week: 43 percent

The Internet and smartphones have made it easier than ever for employees to get distracted from their work. But just how much time do they feel they spend actually working on a daily basis?

  • 8 hours: 38 percent
  • 7 hours: 21 percent
  • 6 hours: 18 percent
  • 5 hours: 11 percent
  • 4 hours or less: 12 percent

The most common distraction from work is non-work related chats with coworkers, followed by Internet searches and loud co-workers.

  • Chatting with co-workers about non-work related stuff: 34 percent
  • Internet searches: 22 percent
  • Loud co-workers: 18 percent
  • Personal calls or emails: 17 percent
  • Office drama: 15 percent
  • Daydreaming: 11 percent
  • Gossip: 7 percent
  • Watching TV in the break room: 2 percent
  • Not understanding how to do the work: 4 percent

To drown out workplace distractions, one-in-five workers listen to music with headphones.  Workers ages 18 to 24 are four times as likely to do so as those ages 55 and older.  The number of workers who reported listening to music with headphones at the office are:

  • All workers: 21 percent
  • Workers age 18-24: 40 percent
  • Workers age 55+: 10 percent

The "Social" Worker
Inevitably when people spend as much time together as coworkers do, friendships and sometimes even romances can form.

  • Number of workers who have dated a co-worker – 38 percent

Among those workers who dated a co-worker, 12 percent said their romances began at a happy hour after work. While 60 percent of workers reported that they don't attend work happy hours, those who do are most likely to cite beer or water as their beverage of choice.

  • Beer: 35 percent
  • Water: 31 percent
  • Soda:  29 percent
  • Mixed drink:  25 percent
  • Wine: 13 percent

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 3,991 workers (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between November 1 and November 30, 2012 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 3,991, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.55 percentage points.  Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 50 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world's top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and talent and compensation intelligence to recruitment solutions. More than 10,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder's proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Jennifer Grasz

SOURCE CareerBuilder