Each employee in the UK wastes an average of 40 days every year, according to a new survey by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

It found that 80 per cent of workers admit to wasting time every day, with half of these wasting between two and three hours.

When asked to give reasons, 42 per cent of respondents cited waiting around for other people, while almost 40 per cent blamed queuing.

Other time wasting activities mentioned were clearing up after others, gossiping, being kept on hold on the phone, sitting in traffic jams and chasing up colleagues on jobs.

Chris Banks, chairman of the LSC, said: "It’s clear that people waste a lot of time, but it’s also clear that people are willing to make better use of their time. If we all spent two and a half hours a day learning something new, we’d all benefit hugely."

He suggested workers use any spare time they have to learn new skills, which will benefit them personally as well as professionally.

Life coach Lynette Allen suggested recently that taking time off work can help to boost productivity by allowing employees to unwind and de-stress.