A study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace has highlighted the cost of cyberloafing to businesses. Cyberloafing has a massive impact on productivity, yet it is all too common. The cyberloafing costs for businesses are considerable and employees who partake in cyberloafing can seriously damage their career trajectory.

Employers are paying their employees to carry out work duties, yet a huge amount of time is lost to cyberloafing. Cyberloafing dramatically cuts productivity and gobbles up company profits. The study was carried out on 273 employees and cyberloafing was measured along with the characteristics that led to the behavior.

The study indicated a correlation exists between dark personality traits such as psychopathy, Machiavellianism and narcissism, but also suggested that employees are wasting huge amounts of time simply because they can do so. The sites most commonly viewed were not social media sites, but news websites and retail sites for online shopping.

In a perfect world, employees would be able to complete their duties and allocate some time each day to personal Internet use without any reduction in productivity. Some employees do just that and curb personal Internet use and do not let it impact their work duties. However, for many employees, cyberfloafing is an issue and huge losses are suffered by employers.

A report on cyberloafing published by Salary.com indicated 69% of employees waste time at work every day, with 64% visiting non-work related webs pages. Out of those workers, 39% said they wasted up to an hour on the Internet at work, 29% wasted 1-2 hours, and 32% wasted over two hours a day.

Cyberloafing can have a huge impact in company profits. A company with 100 workers, each of whom spend an hour daily on personal Internet use, would see productivity losses of in excess of 25,000 man-hours annually.

Productivity losses caused by cyberloafing are not the only problem – or cost. When employees use the Internet for personal reasons, their actions slow down the network resulting in slower Internet speeds for all. Personal Internet use increases the chance of malware and viruses being introduced, which can cause further productivity losses. The cost of addressing those infections can be huge.

What Can Employers do to Reduce Cyberloafing Costs?

First of all, it is vital that the workforce is educated on company policies relating to personal Internet use. Advising the staff about what is an acceptable level of personal Internet use and what is considered unacceptable behavior ensures everyone is aware of the rules. They must also be told about the personal consequences of cyberloafing.

The Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace study says, “a worker’s perceived ability to take advantage of an employer is a key part of cyberloafing.” By improving monitoring and making it clear that personal Internet use is being recorded, it acts as a good deterrent. When personal Internet use reaches problem levels there should be repercussions for the employees involved.

If there are no sanctions for employees that break the rules and company policies are not enforced, little is likely to change. Action could be taken against the workers concerned through standard disciplinary procedures such as verbal and written warnings. Controls could be implemented to curb Internet activity – such as blocks applied for certain websites – social media sites/news sites for example – when employees are wasting too much time online. Those blocks could be temporary or even time-based, only permitting personal Internet use during breaks or at times when workloads are usually low.

WebTitan – An Easy Solution to Cut Productivity Losses and Curb Cyberloafing

Such controls are simple to apply using WebTitan. WebTitan is an Internet filter for SMBs and enterprises that can be deployed in order to reclaim lost productivity and block access to web content that is unacceptable in the workplace.

WebTitan allows administrators to apply Internet controls for individual employees, user groups, or the entire company, with the ability to apply time-based web filtering controls as appropriate.

Stopping all employees from logging onto the Internet for personal reasons may not be the best way forward, as that could have a negative impact on morale which can similarly impact productivity. However, some controls can certainly help employers reduce productivity losses. Internet filtering can also reduce the risk of lawsuits as a result of illegal activity on the network and blocking adult content in the workplace and can help to stop the development of a hostile work environment.

If you would like to increase productivity and start enforcing Internet usage policies in your company, contact TitanHQ today. WebTitan is available on a free trial to test the solution in your own environment before making a decision about a purchase.