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Janine Milne

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News: Cyber-loafing – employees latest way to be bone idle

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Up to 80% of employees time on the Internet is spent ‘cyberloafing’ rather doing anything work related, reveals a university study.

Cyberloafing – the art of time-wasting online – is endemic in business, accounting for 60% to 80% of time spent on the Internet by all employees, regardless of age. Businesses were struggling to police internet usage, suggested the study.

To combat the problem, companies needed to do more than simply write Internet usage policies in the employee handbook, they also needed to actively and consistently enforce those policies and impose sanctions, said the authors. Otherwise, cyberloafing could potentially lay them open to legal issues, if workers are viewing pornography or doing something underhand. 
 
Tim Lloyd, founder and chief executive of web security specialist CensorNet said: “The key takeout from this research is that it costs organisations a lot more than the direct costs of the member of staff idling the day away – there are legal, reputational and potential brand damage issues involved.
 
“If a member of staff, for example, starts accessing illegal content in the workplace, indirect sexual harassment employee lawsuits can be triggered, and it’s also possible that negative publicity can result from any information that leaks out to the press."
 
As well as putting in detection mechanisms to spot staff viewing pornography, companies should also enforce policies to stem excessive personal emailing or social networking, the authors noted.
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