Surfing on company time

Employees in the U.K. spend more than an hour online, send 18 e-mails for non-work related reasons a day

The average employee in the U.K. spends more than an hour a day surfing the Internet and sending e-mail for non-work related reasons, according to a report by employment law firm Peninsula.

A survey of more than 1,500 employers found the average worker spends 69 minutes a day online and sends 18 personal e-mails, costing small businesses thousands of dollars each year.

According to the report, this means 36 per cent of all company e-mail is personal, while Internet and e-mail abuse together account for 43 per cent of the average firm’s online costs.

Nearly three-quarters of the employers interviewed reported experiencing problems with workers downloading illegal software, and 72 per cent said it had cost them financially to rid staff computers of viruses.

Peter Done, managing director for Peninsula, said employers need to put policies in place but admits there is a fine line to walk in ensuring policies are followed while keeping staff morale high.

“The feeling that employees are being watched and monitored by their employer won’t be good for workplace relations,” said Done.

Employers in the U.K. seem to be willing to let staff surf on company time. While 72 per cent said they intend to introduce new policies in the next year, 84 per cent believe it is perfectly acceptable for staff to continue browsing the Internet during their lunch and work breaks.

Click "Related Articles" link below for more information, including a sample Internet-use policy.

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