Some tech workers spend only 4 hours a day on productive work: Blind poll

Some tech workers spend only 4 hours a day on productive work: Blind poll
Some tech workers say they don't work as little as four hours a day.Getty illustration
  • Nearly 45% of tech workers in a Blind poll said they spend four hours or fewer on "focused work."
  • Only about 25% of poll respondents said they worked eight hours or more per day.

Some high-paid tech workers say they're only spending a few hours a day doing "real work," according to a new poll on the anonymous job messaging site Blind.

Last week, a tech worker asked thousands of their peers how much time they spend on "focused work" each day. The Blind poster, who works for the digital product and engineering company Akvelon, said they spent about three to three and a half hours each work day doing "focused work" as a software engineer.

"I need a long break (2h) before I get any motivation back and regain my ability to focus," the worker wrote on Blind. "Although I could go back to work after 2-3h break, but why would I? WFH rocks!"

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The median compensation for a software engineer at Akvelon is about $190,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.

Blind allows its users to post anonymously, but requires them to verify their status as an employee of a particular company by requiring the use of their work email address. Insider did not independently verify the employment of the users cited in this story.


Nearly 45% of the over 8,400 respondents said they're productive about four hours or fewer per day, with the largest portion of voters saying they worked about four hours per day. Only about 25% of respondents said they worked eight hours or more per day.

"4 hours of deep focussed work every day," a former Shopify worker wrote in response to the poll that garnered over 170 likes. "Rest of the day is split between documentation, meetings and all the other mundane stuff. I don't think there are any software engineers that can do focussed work for more than 4-5 hrs a day. It is very mentally draining."

At Shopify, the median take home pay for a software engineer is about $178,000, according to Glassdoor.

While many workers said they had fewer than eight hours of productive work each day because of the mental strain, others blamed an overload of meetings.

"People say >8 hours then have 5 hours of meetings a day where they unmute once," a Square employee wrote in a response that garnered 92 likes.


Other workers said they're more productive when they work from home and that they don't have to put in as much time as a result of that increased productivity.

Experts previously told Insider that workers are more productive when they work from home.

"Even in the office, most of us are working the same amount of 'deep focused' or uninterrupted time on actual technical work," an Intuit employee wrote, adding that "administrative tasks" suck up a large portion of their time.

"Throw in meetings and endless pings and emails and it's a wonder anything gets done in the first place, whether you're at home or at work," they added.

Some tech bosses disagree. Earlier this year, CEO Thomas Siebel said tech workers are "doing nothing working from home." He was one of a handful of Silicon Valley executives to say tech workers are getting by doing "fake work" following the pandemic hiring boom and rise of remote work.


Still, the poll results echo studies from before the pandemic. In 2016, a study of about 2,000 fulltime office workers found that the average worker was only productive for about three hours a day, and spent large portions of their day completing other tasks like checking news sites and social media or discussing non-work related issues with coworkers.

Humans have short attention spans and they are only getting shorter. Dr. Gloria Mark, the author of "Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity," told CNN earlier this year that it takes about 25 minutes for a worker to refocus on a task after they've been distracted and that workers deal with interruptions about every 10 minutes.

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