Establishing policies alone is not enough

Kansas State University researchers have made a pretty obvious discovery. Workers who waste time online at work won't straighten up with an internet policy alone -- they also need punishments to be enforced.

The team, led by Kansas State assistant professor Joseph Ugrin and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale associate professor John Pearson, have looked into effective ways of dealing with "cyberloafing," or wasting time on non-business-related activities online, while at work.

According to the study, workers spend about 60 to 80 percent of their time at work surfing non-work-related websites. Young people tend to spend time on social networks while older employees conduct online banking.

While internet policies with threats of termination tend to work when it comes to larger matters, like viewing pornography at work, many workers see absolutely no problem with using social networks or conducting personal business while on the clock.

We found that that for young people, it was hard to get them to think that social networking was unacceptable behavior," Ugrin 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 team said the only way to get the point across is to spread the word about other employees being punished for abusing their time online. At the same time, the researcher's concluded that this kind of "big brother" behavior could hurt employee morale.

This study will be published in Computers in Human Behavior.

Source: Newswise

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