New research finds it takes more than a policy to stop employees from cyberloafing, wasting time at work on the Web.
Between 60% and 80% of people’s time on the Web at work has nothing to do with work, which means cyber loafing drains productivity .
What’s more, it could put companies in legal trouble when employees conduct illegal activity or unacceptable behavior like viewing pornography on workplace computers.
John Urgin, assistant professor of accounting at Kansas State University in Manhattan, and John Pearson, associate professor of management at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, conducted a research study that found company polices with sanctions that are consistently enforced can help stop employee cyberloafing.
Their study will be published in the journal, Computers in Human Behavior.
After surveying office workers and university students, the researchers discovered both older and young workers waste time on the Web but in different ways.
“Older people are doing things like managing their finances, while young people found it much more acceptable to spend time on social networking sites like Facebook,” Ugrin said.
Although threats of termination and detection mechanisms are effective deterrents against cyberloafing, they may not be enough.
“We found that for young people, it was hard to get them to think that social networking was unacceptable behavior,” Urgin said. “Just having a policy in place did not change their attitudes or behavior at all. Even when they knew they were being monitored, they still did not care.
The researchers found that the only way to change people’s attitudes is to provide them with information about other employees who were reprimanded.
However, that strategy can lower workplace morale.
“People will feel like Big Brother is watching them, so companies need to be careful when taking those types of actions,” Urgin said.