Are your employees wasting work time by Cyberloafing?

Cyberloafing is the act of an employee wasting their work time on online activities that are not job related.  It was found to be the number one time waster and work distraction.  The most common forms of cyberloafing that most employees engage in are:  playing games, managing personal finances, social media, watching videos, shopping, and checking their personal email. Email was found to be a ‘gateway distraction’ for most cyberloafers (those who engage in cyberloafing) and that checking personal emails on company time can lead to getting sidetracked from focusing on work tasks.  On average, studies have found that American’s spend an average of 24% of their time at work cyberloafing and that 60% to 80% of all employees engage in the act of cyberloafing.  A survey found the following statistics as to what cyberloafers are up to when they are surfing the Web at work:

  • 4% of men spend 1-2 hours a day gambling
  • 49% of people shop online during the holiday’s
  • 77% of people check their Facebook accounts
  • 77% of brides plan their weddings
  • 56% of people spend 30 minutes a day researching office betting pools
  • 20% of men admit to viewing pornography

This cyberloafing distraction results in a lack of production which winds up negatively effecting company profitability.  Employees who cyberloaf wind up costing their employers up to $1 billion annually in computer resources, not to mention possibly exposing company to legal liabilities and their equipment to computer viruses.  Employers, in general, make allowances, but understand and expect that their employees are going to be concentrating on work and working while they are on the job.  For those employees who are suspected of being extreme cyberloafers, employers can ban or block non-work related Web content and monitor employees who might be violating company internet usage policy.  Heavily company monitored computer use does not always lead to happy employees and can contribute to even more employee cyberloafing defiance as an act of retaliation.

Employers can and should develop a company Internet policy that implements an acceptable Internet policy that balances some personal Web use and work use for their employees.  Motivating employees to be more productive during the workday is really the only solution to cyberloafing because, according to various studies, all employees engage in some form of cyberloafing from time to time.