Web Surfing at Work?

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web surfingSalary.com’s recent survey analyzing the non-work Internet usage of 3,200 employees seeks to reveal the extent that the behavior negatively affects personnel production and time management. First comes the squirm-inducing part: nearly two-thirds of respondents reported visiting a non-work related website every day; though even this number is down 10 percent under a similar survey conducted in 2008.

Commenting on the substantial drop in non-work Internet usage, Salary.com writer Aaron Gouveia wrote, “With so many jobs lost in the last four years, it’s likely employees have less time to waste because they’re spending more time on their added job responsibilities.”

But while a commanding majority of workers of slacking off on the Internet virtually every day, only a small proportion of these employees spend enough time to affect job performance to any measurable degree. Granting that the survey results are accurate: 39 percent of employees spend less than an hour per week doing personal web surfing, 29 percent do it between one and two hours per week, 21 percent admitted to non-work usage for two to five hours per week, while 11 percent reported abusing their Internet privilege for five or more hours per week.

In order of popularity, the websites most visited at work include Facebook (41 percent), LinkedIn (37 percent), Yahoo! (31 percent), Google+ (28 percent), Amazon (25 percent), CNN (20 percent), YouTube (13 percent), CraigsList (10 percent), ESPN (8 percent), and Twitter (8 percent). The most common behaviors while visiting this list of sites include checking email, reading news, running searches, and personal shopping.

When asked why they felt it was okay to waste work time on the Internet, 35 percent said that they were not challenged enough, 34 percent indicated long work hours, 32 percent said they had little to no incentive to work hard, 30 cited dissatisfaction with their jobs, 23 percent reported being bored, and 18 percent were sticking it to the man due to low pay.

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Rachel, writer for Recruiter.com, has graduate level work in literature and currently works in university administration.