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How Much Personal Internet Surfing in the Workplace is Too Much?

Businesses of all sizes face the dilemma of internet misuse and internet abuse on a daily basis. The internet is a necessity for business, and since the advent of Web 2.0 technology, the ways of exploiting the internet for our own use have flourished.

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Businesses of all sizes face the dilemma of internet misuse and internet abuse on a daily basis. The internet is a necessity for business, and since the advent of Web 2.0 technology, the ways of exploiting the internet for our own use have flourished.

Staff can spend hours being entertained by the latest crazy videos on YouTube, enthralled by the millions of photographs on the likes of Flickr or Photobucket, and engrossed in conversation with their many friends on their social networking sites.

Research shows that the average person spends around 1 hour per day on non-work related internet surfing. In a small business of 8 staff, this equates to one person being unproductive each day. Calculate this for larger businesses, and you quickly understand the amount of productivity potentially lost as well as wasted revenue.

Consider this. Computer viruses infect a computer through 2 means. The infection either comes from an external device plugged into the machine or the Internet. My experience shows that around 90% or more viruses enter through the Internet.

An infected machine can perform slower, and potentially infect other machines on the network. When events such as these take place, it is a ‘double whammy’ of productivity loss for the business. Cleaning infected machines can be time consuming and expensive.

Enterprise software for big businesses can be expensive. Selective auditing of internet access will often identify non-work related internet behaviour before it becomes an issue, and businesses in a call centre environment can often gain from such services the most.

As businesses demand more of their staff, and strive to drive productivity, all aspects of the work environment need to be considered. However, just as work culture between one company may differ from another, so too may their attitude toward the internet.

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