Do We Need To Be Big Brother?
I recently heard a statistic that I just had to confirm. The research reported that 70% of all Internet porn traffic is done during the 9-5 workday. While I learned these aren’t new statistics, my guess is that in the past couple of years since the study was conducted it’s probably gotten worse rather than declined.
To compound that, here are a few more statistics:
- 30-40% of Internet usage in the workplace is non-work-related
- In general, the average worker wastes slightly over 2 hours per workday (doesn’t include lunch)
- 28% of people who make online purchases do so from their offices
I know that as business owners and managers, you have more important things to do than stand over your employees to see how much time is being wasted. But two hours a day of lost time per employee is quite scary.
I had a client who was receiving a recently terminated employee’s emails to make sure nothing was dropped. He started receiving 20-30 non-work-related ezines per day forwarded from this employee’s email. It’s no wonder the employee was terminated for lack of results.
So what’s a manager to do short of a Big Brother approach to supervising employees?
- Know your employees. Drop in more often – it’s great for the relationship as well as to increase employee accountability.
- Determine and communicate your company’s philosophy on internet use (and other time-wasters). A zero tolerance policy for personal use of email is not feasible in most organizations. Nearly everyone with a computer at work is sending some personal emails. But a zero tolerance policy for accessing inappropriate sites is definitely enforceable.
- Decide whether you want to block url’s or filter various web sites (social networking sites, porn, sports and entertainment sites lead the pack). Although there is a cost to this option, including potential employee morale issues, this may be the right choice for your organization.
- Create a solid computer, internet and email policy. Make sure your employees fully understand that you own and can access everything they send through email, from jokes to official documents. And that there are ramifications for downloading software, viruses, spyware and of course, inappropriate items. This is one of the longest policies I write in an employee handbook, but the more detail, the better the protection.
It’s important to remember that there are positives to allowing employees to take care of a little personal business during the workday. Using email to check in on a spouse picking up a kid is a lot quicker than an extended phone call. And in our stressful work day, a 10-minute break to read the news on the internet could be just the refreshment we need to get back to work and focus.
But if we have employees who aren’t working 25% of their workday, there’s a huge productivity as well as financial cost to everyone in the organization.
Copyright (c) 2012 Arlene Vernon, HRx, Inc
About Arlene Vernon
Arlene has provided HR consulting and management training services to over 300 organizations since starting HRx, Inc. in 1992.
If you’re seeking a hands-on, practical HRxpert to assist your organization with employee relations, policy development, strategic HR activities or fun/doable management training, call on Arlene – Your HRxpert.
If you’re planning a conference, seminar or special event, Arlene specializes in keynotes, seminars and workshops to meet your talent management needs. And if you’re seeking a more lively entertaining activity, Arlene’s custom songs and musical-inspirational keynote may be perfect for your organization!
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HR Doesn’t Have To Be So Lonely
You’re not alone. Why not join other HR professionals seeking and giving sage advice on HR best practices. And you can meet them at HR Mastery!
2013 is the 7th year that I’m facilitating monthly HR Mastery Groups.
HR Mastery is your opportunity to learn from your peers as well as from our guest presenters on a wide variety of HR topics and issues you face every day.
Monthly Discussion Groups
Each group has 8-12 human resource professionals who commit to a one-year membership of 12 two-hour monthly meetings. There’s a wide variety of experience, companies, and industries in each group which enhances your opportunity for learning.
Of course, there’s a wide variety of people and personalities in each group, which makes each meeting lots of fun as we confidentially help each other with the unique situations we find ourselves in as HR professionals.
Free HRxpress Hotline!
As part of the membership, each person has access to my HRxpress hotline services and can call or email me with particular HR concerns as they occur. So you don’t have to wait for the next meeting for answers to a timely issue.
Access To Your Peers
Also during the month the members email each other with requests for information, forms, tools, and resources. Typically, another member has already developed that form or has the name of a great resource who can help you.
To learn more about this great opportunity, email me atArlene@ArleneVernon.com or call me at 952.996.0975
Groups start in January, so the sooner you sign up, the sooner we can start planning the 2013 calendar!
If you’re not having fun with your human resources, call Arlene today at 952.996.0975Arlene@ArleneVernon.com