Kansas State University has released a report on the complex science that is cyberloafing. Humour aside, cyberloafing costs many organisations a significant amount of time owing to the additive psychology of Web surfing and social networking.
The research by the University found that company policies are never enough to stop employees from wasting time at work. 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.
It’s also very revealing that the researchers found that between 60 and 80% of time spent on the Internet has nothing to do with work. This is the world of Web shopping and social networking gone mad.
The most interesting aspect of this research is that problem of wasted employee time extends across the entire workforce, regardless of age. The carrot and stick approach has been proven to be ineffective in the longer term and – as detailed in the University’s analysis – the end result of is often reduced staff morale.
A good Web filtering solution helps organisations limit their exposure to Internet threats, illegal content, offensive images and time wasting – and helps staff to be more productive, more secure and reduce their employer’s legal liability.
Effective Web filtering technologies rapidly improves productivity by limiting personal and non-business Web browsing to outside working hours based on flexible filtering rules. The value-add is that good filtering systems comply with BECTA, CIPA, HIPAA and other guidelines to reduce business risk and liability, as well as enhancing network security by eliminating the risk of Web borne threats, such as viruses, malware, spyware and phishing sites.
Other advantages include improved network performance by regulating bandwidth, restricting unnecessary content types and using an on-disk Web cache. Our observations are that cyberloafing is a lot ore than a Human Resources problem, as it really is a boardroom issue on multiple fronts.