Canadians surf on company time

A new survey confirms what we all suspect. Most people with Internet access spend part of their workday surfing the net on personal business. A survey by Angus Reid pollsters shows that 78 per cent of Canadians with Internet access at work have used the Internet for personal reasons.

In fact, personal usage accounts for 26 per cent of web surfing time at work. In total, Canadians with Internet access at work will rack up 800 million hours of annual personal surfing time.
“What we found, among other things, is that employees are using the web at work for much the same reasons they use the web at home,” says Steve Mossop, leader of Angus Reid’s Canadian Internet practice. “E-mail, information updates, comparison shopping, and financial transactions.”

Mossop says the results aren’t surprising when you consider how much time many people spend in front of a computer. That easy access, combined with the often higher bandwidth offered at the office, prove to be a tempting combination for employees. They can play the market, check out the latest news at their favourite web sites, or send bad jokes to their friends.

Lost work time
Msop points out the 800 million hours online for personal use is a “potential loss of human productivity”.  

“Clearly, companies and governments need to think long and hard about developing guidelines and policies to deal with this phenomenon,” he says.

In the meantime, we can all enjoy a surf or two on company time. Eventually, large companies and institutions could install tracking software to monitor all time at the keyboard.

Then we’ll all have to go back to the watercooler and those long personal phone calls of yesteryear.