What are people really doing when they're on the clock? If you ask an employee, he or she will probably tell you they're 'working' all day, but we know this is hardly ever 100% true. The simple truth is that people waste a lot of time at work. Historically - before the era of pervasive technology - wasted time was evidenced by extended smoke breaks, loitering at the water cooler and 'long lunches'. At least it was easy to track these physical work digressions. Today, people are likely to waste even more time using social media, browsing the web, downloading music and video content and communicating with friends around the globe using chat forums. This form of time wasting is far more dangerous.
Why is this form of time wasting more dangerous?
It happens all day.
It detracts from the work focus and contributes to errors and poor customer service.
It exposes corporations to potential reputational damage and possible litigation.
It's difficult to detect.
So who wastes the most time and on what? Research indicates that younger employees waste more time than their older counterparts. Moreover, the more educated the person, the more likely he or she is to waste time. Eric Pfeiffer, of the blog The Sideshow, asserts that up to 80% of time at work is wasted. He uses the term 'cyberloafing' to describe the main culprits. Click here to read Eric's blog on this topic.
Whilst older people are probably more likely to go online to manage their finances, young people find it much more acceptable to spend time on social networking sites like Facebook.
Culprits of online time wasting include social media, online shopping and personal email or messaging. Interestingly, Forbes recently commented that "70% of all online pornography access occurs between 9 AM and 5 PM".
Why is this an issue?
It's a 'hidden' capital cost to your business:
Clients are not being effectively attended to. This directly affects profitability and causes long-term brand and reputational damage.
Presentations, spreadsheets and other work related tasks are taking much longer than necessary, thus causing productivity degradation.
Porn and other illegal practices can negatively affect business and expose your company to unnecessary risk of litigation.
Employees could be wasting up to two hours per day. That's 40 hours a month, or one workweek per month, thus effectively increasing payroll costs by up to 30%.
What's the easiest way to combat this threat?
Corporate employment contracts should encompass a clause dealing with internet access permissions and this should be monitored through the implementation of an end point security solution that includes web filtering software capability. Cloud-hosted web filtering software solutions are most effective and include the following key features:
Control internet access via a hierarchy of permission levels. For example, sales directors and researches may have greater access relative to credit controllers.
Completely blocking selected categories of web access (e.g. porn, torrents and other download categories) across the corporation.
Enabling access for all employees to certain sites (Facebook, Twitter etc.) at specific times of the day - for example, only during lunch and 30 minutes before business hours - through web filtering software tools.
The ability to control access rights and view real-time reports via a cloud-based web console. This means that you have full control, visibility and the capacity to update web filtering settings no matter where you are located.
To read more about web filtering software, check out a previous blog on this topic here.
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