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Are you paying your staff to entertain themselves online?16 May 2014

 

Seven out of ten employees waste time at work, with gossiping and surfing the web being their favourite ways of getting through the day. This is according to a survey carried out last year by Salary.com.

Putting the internet on the desks, and now into the hands, of staff is making it very easy for them to get distracted from their day job. It also allows them to carry out domestic tasks, such as shopping, sharing pictures on Facebook or catching up with their favourite television programmes.

Last year, staff at the National Audit Office, who are responsible for monitoring the use of public money, were reprimanded for spending too much time on websites hosting games and jokes. Statistics revealed that in nine months, the NAO staff had made over two and a half million visits to these sites.

 

How do I know my staff are only using the internet for their job?

With one study showing that up to 80% of the time spent online by employees is on non-business activity, this issue is fast becoming a major concern for organisations of all sizes. While most firms don’t want to micro-manage their staff’s time, they do want the confidence that access to the web is not being abused.

Another concern about workplace misuse of the web is how much it impacts the ability of others to do business. Staff watching YouTube videos or using TV catch up services, such as iPlayer, are consuming bandwidth that can’t be used for exchanging data files with clients or suppliers, and it can impact on the quality of VOIP communication services.

Fortunately, tools exist that help businesses record and report on how individual computers are being used, even down to the level of knowing which websites are being accessed. Armed with this information, firms are better informed about the level of misuse and can start taking steps to deal with it.

 

How to control employee use of the workplace internet

While staff need the freedom to do their job, they should also understand their responsibility to get that job done without being distracted by the internet.

Steps firms can take to encourage more appropriate web use include:

  • •  Implement a policy that sets out what is, and is not, appropriate use of the web in the workplace.
  • •  Explain the policy to staff to help them understand the negative impact of misusing web access.
  • •  Introduce monitoring of web activity, taking care to balance the rights and responsibilities of employees.
  • •  Do not be afraid to take appropriate disciplinary measures where needed.

We are offering our clients a free trial of a web security tool that tracks and reports on how the web is being used within a business. This tool helps firms assess the scale of the problem and provides insights into how it can be addressed.

For more information about this free trial and to discuss how it could benefit your business, please get in touch.