How Much Time Do Your Employees Waste at Work?

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While the internet has brought a flood of benefits and greatly enhanced the quality of much of the work we do on a daily basis, the amount of time, employees waste online is staggering. Do you restrict your employees’ internet access? Do you prevent your workers from getting sidetracked by social media, online gaming, and private emails? Do your employees book holidays, make their latest purchase, or have a chat with a friend on your time? Did you know many of your employees may actually be surfing the internet to find a new job because they feel bored working for you?

Staggering Stats

According to a recent survey carried out by, 3% of workers spend more than 10 hours a week surfing the internet, 21% go online for more than 5 hours of fun, 29% waste 2 hours of your precious time, and 39% go online, seeking non-work related information, for a least 1 hour each week. A staggering 64% of workers admitted going online on “private business” on a daily basis. Truth be told, I would have estimated higher figures, though employees may have been reluctant to admit the full scope of their private internet use in this survey.

Particularly the younger generation of employees tend to waste time at work, with 73% of 15 to 35 year-olds admitting to wasting precious company time online.

Perhaps, we need to remind ourselves that the time spent having a great old time online is hardly productive. Time is money, and if you are footing the wage bill, you may like to take note and may even feel compelled to take action.

Most Popular Online Escapes

When asked what sites employees would visit to escape their work, 41% mentioned Facebook, 37% Linkedin and 25% of workers admitted to undergoing a bit of retail therapy at Amazon. Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and Pinterest also ranked high in the most popular online escape destinations.

Too Much Temptation

Ultimately, the internet simply provides too much temptation. From fantasy and adventure slots to sport and fashion blogs, right through to the most popular online gaming sites, it’s difficult for anyone not to get sidetracked. The internet’s wealth of information, entertainment, and social interaction has been enormously beneficial, however, perhaps it’s time to recognize and deal with the downside of this abundance. Every hour your employee isn’t productive represents a loss to your company, a loss you may not have been aware of.

Remedies – Employee Engagement

Apart from the irresistible temptation, employees also cited a lack of professional challenges, excessively long work hours, lack of incentives to work harder, the absence of career prospects, and plain, simple boredom as reasons for using the internet recreationally.

While you may just simply install software to prevent the abuse of the internet, perhaps you ought to take a broader view. Some companies have come up with innovative ways of deepening their employee engagement. Surveys play a vital role in understanding the lack of employee communication and engagement. You can look for helpful resources to learn how to make effective surveys. Some introduce social media work platforms and actually encourage online interaction – all work related of course, while others simply motivate their workers by offering a plethora of monetary or career-enhancing benefits. Others introduce personality assessments like, to gauge all their employees’ skills, their natural pattern of working, and can then tailor tasks to suit individual employees. This should hopefully increase productivity, as everyone is now working to their strengths.

Improving employee relations and boosting morale are the best ways to motivate your employees. When they interact with one another in meaningful ways outside of work, it could boost productivity during work hours. This could especially be the case with remote employees- they may feel very disconnected from the goings-on of the company and may hence not be putting in their best efforts into the work they’re doing. One way to ensure that employees stay motivated is to have team-building activities for your offline as well as online employees. You can have them engage in online office games to boost their productivity and encourage healthy fraternisation.

The deeper the engagement and the more your employees care about their work, the less likely they are to wander off. Focus on increasing the employees’ motivation and foster more loyalty towards their work, and they will be less likely to waste company time.