There’s little doubt that the Internet has greatly contributed to workplace efficiency and productivity over the last couple decades. E-mail has made real-time, written communication far easier than ever before, and new technologies have provided the ability to share computer screens and hold virtual face-to-face meetings—not to mention the ability to conduct research without sifting through dozens of books.
But employees can also waste a lot of time on the Internet. Salary.com reported on a survey it conducted of 3,200 people to see what the biggest time-wasters at work were. The survey found that 64% of respondents said they visit non-work-related websites every day during work hours. So how much time are we talking about?
Salary.com found that 39% of respondents said they spend an hour or less per week on non-work-related items, 29% spent up to 2 hours per week, 21% up to 5 hours, and just 3% 10 or more hours.
Employers might be surprised to find out who is doing most of the time wasting. Salary.com reports that “even though many assume that younger workers spend more time on websites that aren’t work-related, that’s not the case. Workers between the ages of 26-35 topped the list with 75 percent wasting time at work on a daily basis, compared to the 72 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds.”
Many employers try to limit employees’ spending time doing personal activities at work by blocking personal websites like Facebook and Twitter on the company Internet.
The survey found that 30% of respondents say their employers do this; however, that same survey found that the majority of those surveyed said that if their company had such a policy, they would simply use their own smartphone, tablet, or laptop to circumvent the policy.
The worldwide Web is a double-edged sword for employers. The same tools that facilitate greater efficiency and productivity can also be abused by employees and sap productivity as well.