The Internet often gets a great deal of credit for the US economic boom. But a recent survey shows the Net could also be blamed for productivity losses.
The study by Yankelovich Partners in Norwich, Conn., discovered that some 62 percent of workers hop online for personal reasons at least once every workday, while the average worker uses the Internet for such purposes 3.1 times per workday. About one-fifth of Internet users surveyed use their company Internet connection 10 or more times a day for personal reasons.
Workers do so despite the fact that 71 percent of them consider it at least somewhat likely that a supervisor is aware of what they are doing.
Employees who spend their workday shopping, sending personal e-mails, or randomly surfing could clog a company's Internet connection, making it harder for fellow employees to conduct company business efficiently.
The survey also found that half of those with Internet access at work mistakenly believe their employer would not be held liable for any offensive material workers distribute via the Internet from the office.
"As long as employees enjoy unrestricted Internet access at work and employers fail to monitor the situation, there is significant potential for lost productivity or a damaging lawsuit or personnel problems," says Nik Bahram of surfCONTROL, a company that offers software that can limit what sites employees can visit.
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