The internet has made getting work done a lot easier for a majority of folks slugging away in a cubicle.
It’s also made not getting work done a lot easier.
From checking personal e-mail to Tweeting to managing fantasy baseball lineups to finding out which faux-lebrity most recently made a fool of themselves on TMZ (for the record, it was Octomom), there’s not shortage of ways to kill productivity.
Employers lose $4 billion annually to internet misuse, according to the Center for Internet Addiction, as workers estimate they can spend as much as two or three hours a day on personal internet use at work.
Business owners are all too aware of the time their employees are wasting online. Many block employees from using the biggest offenders (Facebook and eBay, we’re talking about you) and half of all employers say they monitor internet usage, according to a CareerBuilder.com survey.
The sites they’re most concerned about?
- Sexual or pornographic sites
- Gaming sites
- Social networking sites
- Entertainment sites
- Shopping sites
- Sports sites
The lesson? Even if your boss isn’t sitting right behind you watching your screen, the higher-ups can still find out what you’ve been looking at online.
Policies and Consequences
Abusing internet privileges at work can have some very serious consequences.
A 2009 survey on Electronic Business Communications Policies & Procedures found 52 percent of bosses have fired employees for inappropriate internet usage and 26 percent have fired employees for e-mail violations, according to an article on switched.com.
Employers are not only concerned about losing hours of productivity to web surfing, but also they worry about potential damage to company equipment when files containing viruses are downloaded on to work computers.
Most companies have some sort of policy on internet usage at work. Employees are well-advised to be familiar with their company’s stance before watching another video on YouTube or shooting their mom a quick e-mail.
In fact, it’s probably not a bad idea to monitor your internet habits outside of work, as well. Trashing your boss on Facebook or blogging about company secrets will not garner you any favors at work and could also get you canned – examples of that include a waitress who was fired for complaining about customers on Facebook and teacher who resigned because of pictures of her on Facebook holding alcohol.
What About Smartphones?
More and more workers are attempting to dodge stringent internet policies by using their smart phones or other mobile devices to surf the web.
While technically, they’re not abusing work equipment, they could still be wasting time.
Not to mention, their co-workers are often more suspicious about the types of sites they are looking at on a mobile device than a company computer.
A study by business video provider Qumu, found that 74 percent of people thought that those using a mobile device at the office were more likely to be looking at sites they wouldn’t have otherwise accessed on a work computer.
According to an article on MSNBC.com, here’s what they think their colleagues are doing on their mobile devices:
- 52 percent think they’re looking for a new job
- 47 percent think they’re viewing pornography
- 46 percent think they’re looking for a side job
- 37 percent think they’re researching embarrassing illnesses or conditions.
And, no matter how discrete employees think they are by using a mobile device, as it turns out, someone is always watching. The survey also found that 63 percent of people have caught colleagues sneaking a peek at their device during a meeting and 47 percent have caught them hiding a mobile device under the table.
Photo courtesy of Alumroot on Flickr