What You Need to Do When Employees Waste Time Surfing the Internet

What You Need to Do When Employees Waste Time Surfing the Internet

There might not be many of us who can honestly claim to work every minute of the entire working day without succumbing to the occasional distraction. However, depending on whom you speak to, many business leaders claim that employees spend between one and three hours per working day on activities that aren’t work-related. Studies have also found that almost 90% of employees admitted to wasting time at work.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest distraction in most workplaces is the internet. This might sound counterintuitive given that the internet is a vital tool in many jobs, but the problem lies in productivity-killing websites like Facebook, which is unsurprisingly one of the top offenders. However, other social networks, websites and search engines are just as guilty.

Many employers simply turn a blind eye to people surfing non-work-related websites in the office. However, while it’s not a good idea to adopt draconian measures, such as constantly monitoring your staff, it’s far too easy to let these distractions spiral out of control to the extent that they cause genuine damage to your business.

What Are Your Employees Doing Online?

Wasting time at work has become a serious epidemic costing businesses vast sums of money every year in lost revenue. Worse still, time-wasting is steadily rising as online distractions become ever more widespread. According to Forbes, around 41% of wasted time is spent socializing on Facebook, while a further 25% is spent shopping on websites like Amazon.

In the case of social media, much of this time is spent on quick recesses that typically take only a minute or less. However, the large number of distractions makes them extremely disruptive, resulting in compromised work quality and increased chances of costly mistakes.

Despite this, it’s a mistake to dwell too much on how your employees waste time at work and instead consider why they think it’s acceptable to waste time. In other words, it’s far more constructive to look at the root cause of the problem, rather than just blaming social media. After all, it doesn’t really matter where employees are wasting time – it matters why. In many cases, the answer is simple:

  • They aren’t incentivized to work harder
  • There is little or no satisfaction in doing the job
  • They think short recesses actually help improve productivity
  • There are too many distractions in there workplace
  • They feel their work is meaningless due to a lack of challenge
  • Their hours are too long
  • Your company culture lacks a positive atmosphere

It’s important to remember that the above points are nothing new and have nothing to do with modern inventions like the internet. Long before Facebook, people were still wasting time at work chatting on the phone, taking too many breaks at the water cooler, or taking prolonged smoking breaks.

How to Solve the Time-Wasting Epidemic

If your organization is having difficulty meeting its performance goals, then it’s time to start doing something about costly distractions in your workplace. What you don’t want to end up doing, however, is creating a fragmented workplace in which your employees feel disconnected with their superiors since that will only make matters worse. Instead, strive to find the right mix of technological measures and changes to your company culture.

A great company culture starts with a strong leader who can lead and motivate a team by exhibiting a genuine passion and confidence in what they do. After all, a productive manager sets a good example and helps employees get engaged with their mission and start to share the vision of the company. This approach tends to be far more effective than simply removing everyone’s browsing privileges. Instead, by setting goals and incentivizing your employees, they’ll become engaged enough not to fall into the temptation of checking Facebook every few minutes.

While building a strong company culture will go a long way towards reducing the amount of time being wasted, it’s also wise to implement some technological measures such as content or URL filtering. This way, you’ll be able to prevent or limit access to offending websites while also helping ensure your network remains as secure as it can be.

F1 Solutions is a full-service IT provider with the tools and expertise your business needs to grow and thrive in a highly competitive marketplace. Speak with one of our experts today to find out how we can support you.

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