By Max Clarke

According to new research carried out by Online Opinions for the makers of the T6 Water Dispenser, Strauss Water, Britons spend an estimated 24 minutes a day making tea, coffee and other hot drinks at work - costing employers more than £400 a year per staff member.

That’s a staggering 188 days and 21 hours spent idling by the kettle over a working lifetime.

New research reveals that nearly four in ten people do a tea or coffee run for work mates at least twice a day and almost one in five boil a kettle for fellow workers once a day.

With an average salary of £26,000 a year, it means workers rack up £416 a year in lost productivity waiting for the kettle to boil.

For a company of 35 people, that adds up to more than £14,500 lost a year, while for a company of 600 it's a massive quarter of a million pounds.

The study for the T6, the hot and cold filtered water dispenser, found that four in ten people make tea, coffee or another hot drink for more than one work colleague every day.

Around one in seven people (15 per cent) shun the daily tea round and only make a drink for themselves when at work.

Under-30s increasingly prefer to nip out of the office to get their caffeine shot from the local Starbucks or Costa coffee shops — with four in ten saying they do this.

Suspicious employers even believe that some workers regularly volunteer for the tea and coffee run just to shirk their work duties.

Up to one in nine of the under-30s (11 per cent) go out to buy a round of trendy lattes or cappuccinos on an almost daily basis, the T6 study revealed.

Agneta Sjödin, marketing director for the T6, which polled 1,000 Britons nationwide, said: “It's incredible to think that on average, the tea run accounts for nearly 190 days of your working life.

“Workers waiting for the kettle to boil are wasting their own time and costing firms a fortune in lost productivity. It adds a whole new dimension to the old saying that a watched kettle never boils.”

In London, the takeaway coffee culture has become a status symbol with one in ten adults (13 per cent) preferring to indulge in a luxury takeaway over a free cup from work.

More than one in two (53 per cent) Brits now buy coffee when out and about rather than tea (19 per cent), according to the T6 research.