June 23, 1013
"Turk" Ciftcikara, M. Ed.
Should Employers Monitor Internet Use?
The twenty-first century is in full swing and technology changes almost daily. This increase in technology, however, is a double-edged sword for many employers. New computer and internet capabilities allow for faster production, more efficient order processing, online banking, computerized record keeping and even allows employees to work from virtually anywhere with smart phones, mobile hot spots, and wireless internet. At the same time, new ways of working require employees to have computers and internet access at work. Now employers are concerned with internet abuse and they are finding themselves in the highly controversial position of wanting to monitor internet use. There are three reasons why employers should monitor internet use: cyberslacking, legal liability issues, and bandwidth costs.
The biggest reason so many employers are considering internet monitoring is cyberslacking and its impact on employee productivity. Cyberslacking is a term used to describe internet use for personal reasons during work hours (Vitak, Crouse, & LaRose, 2011). Personal use at work has been shown to include sending personal e-mail, chatting, online shopping, doing personal finances, watching sports, visiting adult sites, downloading of streaming media, social networking, gaming, job searching, arranging travel plans, reading news, and gambling. While many employers allow and even expect their employees to make personal use of the internet from time to time, recent studies have shown that as much as 51% of an employee's time on the internet is personal use. This severely impacts company productivity (Johnson & Rawlins, 2008). While reports vary, the cost of lost productivity could range as high as $178 billion annually (Vitak, Crouse, & LaRose, 2011). Perhaps most interesting is the fact that even employees admit that internet use decreases...
References: Greenfield, D. N., & Davis, R. A. (2002). Lost in Cyberspace: the Web @ Work. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 5(4), 347-353.
Johnson, P. R., & Rawlins, C. (2008). Employee Internet Management: Getting People Back to Work. Journal Of Organizational Culture, Communications & Conflict, 12(1), 43-48.
Vitak, J., Crouse, J., & LaRose, R. (2011). Personal Internet Use at Work: Understanding Cyberslacking, Computers in Human Behavior
Young, K. (2011). Internet Abuse in the Workplace. Academy of Business Research Journal, 220-29.
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