Human Resources News & Insights

Is this today’s most overrated management problem?

As the Digital Age matures, employers of all sizes continue to wonder: Just how much time are workers wasting wandering on the Web? And what motivates them to do it? Well, now we know. recently released the results of a 3,200-person survey that looked into the issue of employees’ non-work Internet usage.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (64%) said they visit non-work related websites every day — and while that’s a substantial number, it’s 10% lower than it was when conducted a similar survey in 2008. writer Aaron Gouveia offers a theory for the lower number: “With so many jobs lost in the last four years, it’s likely employees have less time to waste because they’re spending more time on their added job responsibilities.”

How much time is being lost?

OK, so almost everybody spends some time looking for stuff on the Internet that has nothing to do with their actual jobs. But exactly how much of the workweek is lost?

Not too awfully much, if we can trust the survey responses:

  • 39% said they spent less than an hour a week on non-work surfing
  • 29% estimated spending one to two hours
  • 21% said two to five hours
  • 8% said five to ten hours, and
  • 3% admitted to wasting more than ten hours a week on the Internet.

Seems like that bottom 11% need closer supervision.

Where are they going?

No big surprises in the listing of the websites employees visit most often:

  • Facebook — 41%
  • LinkedIn — 37%
  • Yahoo — 31%
  • Google+ — 28%
  • Amazon — 25%
  • CNN — 20%
  • YouTube — 13%
  • CraigsList — 10%
  • ESPN — 8%
  • Twitter — 8%, and
  • Pinterest — 4%.

What’re they doing when they get to these sites? Respondents said they checked email, caught up on the news, searched for (presumably non-work related) things on Google, or did personal shopping.

Why do they think it’s OK? asked participants why they wasted time at work. The responses could be instructive to managers looking for answers to why things aren’t operating at optimum efficiency:

  • 35% said they weren’t challenged enough
  • 34% cited long hours
  • 32% said they had no incentive to work hard
  • 30% said they were unsatisfied
  • 23% said they were bored, and
  • 18% cited low pay.






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