Monitoring internet usage at work might seem heavy handed or even draconian - trying to curb personal internet usage and wasted time at work is generally hard to police. Blocking particular websites, or tracking the sites visited by employees is usually problematic and most approaches don’t prevent wasted time. Before we tell you why, consider the following…
This problem is HUGE. Wasted time at work is one of, if not the most important challenge facing companies all over the world. The cost to business each year is in the billions.
In an their annual “Wasting Time at Work” survey, Salary.com found that sixty-four percent of respondents report wasting one hour or less each day, 22% waste approximately 2 hours daily, and 14% waste 3 or more hours each workday. Personal Internet use topped the list as the leading time-wasting activity according to 48 percent of respondents.
More recently, a UK based employment site MyJobGroup.co.uk surveyed 1,000 British workers and found that almost 6 percent of them spent over an hour a day using social media of some kind, including Facebook. This is roughly one-eighth of their workday. By extension, about 2 million of Britain’s 34-million-person workforce likely were doing the same, costing the British economy about 14 billion pounds in lost productivity.
So how are businesses waging war against wasted time and cyber-slacking? Banning internet usage, or certain sites or monitoring internet activity are some of the more typical approaches used in corporate Internet monitoring – all of these methods are flawed;
Banning the Internet at work – this is obviously not going to be effective in most work places as the Internet is essential for nearly all business at some level.
Banning certain web sites such as Facebook – this is also not a good approach for several reasons. Firstly the ban is not likely to be comprehensive (Facebook isn’t the only website that wastes time). Secondly the person may need to use social media sites for work purposes. Thirdly it doesn’t allow staff to use the Internet for personal reasons during their lunch break for example.
Monitoring employee internet activity – this also not effective for a few reasons. For starters, it is more and more common for workers to spend part of their day on their home computer, their laptop or to work remotely, whilst on the train etc. Also even if Internet is monitored on their work computer, staff can most likely browse the Internet on their iPhone or another portable device.
A different approach to managing personal internet usage at work
Time Doctor is more effective than other employee internet monitoring software options and has a completely unique approach.
In essence, Time Doctor monitors the web sites visited during work hours only and then sends this information to the manager and the employee in a simple weekly report into their email. There are several advantages to monitoring employee Internet usage this way:
1. It’s a very simple weekly email report with all the websites included in one email. This information can be used for improvements in productivity, not just to prevent personal internet use at work. The report is very easy to read, and only needs to be reviewed once per week so it doesn’t take long for management to review it.
2. This method works ONLY when the person is working, and not when they are on a break. It means that the person can use the Internet for personal reasons during their lunch break and it won’t be recorded.
3. This method can be used for remote working employees on the person’s home computer. As there is the ability to use any personal websites when not working, the software can be used on personal computers as it is totally inactive when the person is “on a break”.
4. Time Doctor also will proactively remind staff not to use potentially non work related web sites during working hours. For example if the person says they are working on “accounting task” and they visit Facebook it will pop up and ask – are you still working on “accounting task”? This means the person will be reminded that they shouldn’t be using Facebook, but they still have the option to if it’s work related.
5. The weekly report of Internet Usage focuses on only websites that were used more than 10 minutes during that week. This is important so that management are focusing on the big details, and are not worried about an employee visiting Facebook for only 30 seconds during that entire week (This is 10 minutes of cumulative time during the week).
6. Time Doctor has a number of other benefits especially recording the exact use of time for staff members which means that employees and management are aware of where time was spent.
7. So other than being used to track employee internet usage, Time Doctor will help in a multitude of other ways to improvement the staff member’s time management skills.