Several researches have shown that employees waste 1-2 hours per day surfing the web. Time is money, and each of those employees can cost you up to $10,000 annually! While they’re shopping, watching tv shows, chatting on Facebook and what not, you’re biting nails and pulling hair while watching your company’s performance drop. So what can you do to stop this?
The Hidden Side of Web Surfing
Just like anything else, surfing the web can be beneficial when done in moderation. Many studies have shown that it can increase employee performance. After a time of hard work, taking a short break – in this case spending that time web surfing – gives the brain a rest, after which it’s ready to start over with replenished energy.
In fact, some people need the satisfaction of finishing a small recreational task to boost their productivity. For example, you know that your colleague Karen loves reading newspapers more than anyone else in the office. Her favorite part is the town’s news, and she takes pride in learning everything that happened before lunch break and sharing that knowledge with colleagues.
Reading those few articles takes up no more than 15 minutes of her time, but those 15 minutes make her a star during the lunch break gossip, and you can see her confidence hitting the ceiling. After this you are likely to witness significant improvement in her performance.
This isn’t a unique case. A research from Harvard Business School showed that delaying gratification of recreational tasks has a negative effect on employee’s productivity.
However, while those few satisfactory minutes can be a great booster, more often than not, employees overuse their internet access in workspace.
Why Are Your Employees Surfing During Work Time?
There are several reasons why your employees might waste their work time surfing the internet. Surveys have shown that most employees – 35% of them – spend a good portion of work time surfing the web because they don’t find their jobs challenging. Others find lack of motivation guilty for their time spent surfing the web. When employees can’t connect with company’s vision, or they feel like their work isn’t acknowledged, it results in spending work time doing non work-related activities.
The Need for Monitoring
For most employees, web surfing during work mainly revolves around short tasks such as checking social media. However, there are always extreme examples. One of the things that happen online during work time is online harassment. In fact, you might even be surprised we’re mentioning this here. However, nearly 40% of people who use the internet have experienced some form of online harassment.
Now you might be wondering, how does that directly concern you? Well, you are bound by law to have a sexual harassment policy. As an employer, you have an obligation to protect your employees from harassment.
This isn’t all. Another thing that might worry you is the safety of company’s sensitive data. Let’s be honest here, do you think all of your employees surf the web without possible exposure to malware? Are you sure that old Jack knows he didn’t really win the lottery on that pop-up window? Think about big data breaches that happen to even the safest enterprises you know. If their data was stolen by a random malware, how safe can yours be?
One of the possible solutions to these challenges could be the software which would monitor computer activities.
Employee monitoring and productivity software gives you detailed information on what your employees are doing on their computers in real time. You know which tasks they’re working on, and for how long. One of these is Workpuls - the fastest growing employee monitoring tol. The software toolbox includes categorization feature, which allows you to classify apps and websites as productive, unproductive and neutral. This can be done on a department level, so you can, for example, set Facebook as a productive website for Marketing department, but make it an unproductive for everyone else. This is also helpful later when you start using collected data to create performance reports.
If this isn’t enough, you can always use online work tracker’s screenshot ability, which can capture employee’s screen at random intervals. Are you aware that the sole existence of this feature can boost your team’s performance? Knowing they’re monitored has an impact on employees’ behavior. No one wants to be caught watching cat videos for 4 hours straight. Awareness of software to monitor computer activity on network will affect your employees’ time spent on non-work-related activities.
Monitoring employees on network also helps in addressing possible harassment claims. If you receive accusation about a certain employee, you have a recorded proof that can support victim’s claims. In case of Workpuls, data is securely stored for two years.
Small amount of personal use of internet at work shouldn’t be something you need to worry about. In fact, sometimes it’s great for taking mind off of stressful tasks. However, it’s important that your employees know what is considered an acceptable amount of time. The best way to address this is to develop an internet policy and implement an online monitoring software to keep surfing within boundaries.