Eradicate Time Wasting Activities from Your Network

While it may seem like a story your grandmother would tell you to scare you it is true. At one point the Internet did not exist. Yes, there were rudimentary “email” programs but the Internet as we know it today, with news sites, social networking and online games did not exists a mere 20 years ago. Back then when an employee wanted to waste time they would gather at the water cooler or kitchen area and gossip.

Because this form of time wasting was highly visible employees were forced to self-limit the amount of time they spent socializing at work or risk having their supervisors labeling them a slacker. Among the many activities the Internet has made easier is wasting time at work. Employees can now spend as much time as they want surfing the web and because they are at their desks looking at their computer screen any passerby would believe they are working. With the Internet the only thing stopping most employees from spending hours online wasting time is their own work ethic and sometimes, pressing deadlines. published a list of the Top 9 Time Wasters at work. Of the nine activities employees engage in during the work day instead of working five of these activities involved using the web. Here is a brief summary of what the article included:

  • Number 1 – Internet Use Respondents to a survey indicated they spend more than two hours a day simply surfing the web instead of working.
  • Number 3 – Shopping online During the holiday season the average employee planned to spend the equivalent of two full work days shopping. The survey also said that one in ten employees sinks as much as 30 hours a year into online shopping.
  • Number 4 – Social networking According to a 2009 study from Nucleus Research, productivity drops 1.5 percent when workers are able to access Facebook at work. This study also states that 61 percent of employees use the site at work for an average of 15 minutes a day.
  • Number 6 – Email Basex, a New York Consulting firm, reports that half of all workers receive 50 or more email messages a day and 55 percent respond or read the messages immediately. With more than 80% of messages being spam this is a huge time waster.
  • Number 8 – Looking for jobs One in four employees with a computer admits to searching for jobs while at work.

So with all these time wasters damaging employee productivity what can an organization do? As we've stated in past posts – employee productivity can be improved using the same tools organizations use to protect their networks from Trojans, botnets and other malicious content. First of all they can reduce the number of emails employees receive by deploying a spam blocker. This way the emails they receive will at the very least be (mostly) work related. Next, the value of content filtering tools cannot be understated. To preserve employee moral while protecting productivity companies can create Internet usage policies using this very same technology.

Instead of banning social networking and news sites all together you can allow employees to access these sites at certain times (at the beginning of the day, during lunch etc.) This way, employees still get the break from work they need to recharge without over doing it. If blocking access to websites isn't your organizations “style” these tools can be used to monitor web-usage instead. Then the administrator can talk to only those employees who abuse the right to surf the web freely, or even create a user group of just these employees.


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