We’ve all done it! It’s 8 a.m. on Monday and we are sitting at our desk getting ready to tackle a new week! Of course, we can’t be expected to lunge right into our work. Not just yet! This is our time for Facebook, personal emails, and online shopping. Think about it … we haven’t even felt the effect of our Starbucks coffee. Work can wait.
The Sneaky Click Gives it Away
It’s almost funny that as soon as a co-worker or manager approaches our desk, we develop a quizzical look on our face, almost wondering what they could need this early in the morning. We are right in the middle of confirming our Amazon purchase, and they have the audacity to interrupt us. At this point, we maintain eye contact with the intruder, while simultaneously clicking on the “X” that ends our online fun. It’s amazing how adept we have become at closing out of an internet window while maintaining an intelligent conversation with someone. In some cases, we close multiple windows. When we hit a snag, we shut down the entire system by holding down the power button for what seems like an hour!
A Few Stats
A recent Gallup poll found that employees spend an average of 75 minutes per day using computers for non-business activities, which translates to roughly $6,250 per year for each employee. Let’s extrapolate that conservative number by 400 employees, or a midsize company, and that equates to an expected loss of $2.5M for the year. Many of us know employees that spend far more than 75 minutes surfing the web. In fact, some employees are on the web managing personal affairs several hours per day.
I often ask my university students the following question: “In the past year, how many of you have gone to work and done absolutely nothing related to your work?” Surprisingly, more than half of the hands usually are raised, and most of these students hold professional positions within their organizations.
Some employers understand that restricting employees from using the computers for personal use is likely not feasible, and probably not the best policy for morale. Employees today have smartphones and tablet PCs to keep them connected, and thus they can find other ways to stay distracted. Therefore, having an employee-friendly policy on internet usage can provide a win-win situation. One employer only allows personal use during the lunch hour, and that level of access seems to provide a balance. However, given that the web is available anytime, employees have the opportunity to abuse the policy.
Managing the Click
As an employer, I understand that employees are going to use company resources for personal use. My approach is to provide clear expectations, include a deadline, communicate the level of quality expected for the work, and measure the employee’s performance based on those agreed requirements. If the employee performs at the expected level, the noise of those sneaky clicks is tolerable.
Please feel free to share your success stories with me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 210-601-1996 and also you can visit my website at http://www.jmbok.com