One comes across new acronyms every other day. Recently I learnt of one more which was new- to me. WILB or Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing. A new study that has caught the attention of the blogging world in general and those associated with employee productivity in particular comes from the University of Melbourne.
“Workplace internet leisure browsing (WILB) can help sharpen workers’ concentration,” said Brent Coker, from the University’s department of management and marketing. “People need to zone out for a bit to get back their concentration.”
Coker defines WILB as browsing the web for information and reviews of products, reading on-line news sites, playing on-line ganes, catching up with activities of friends through social networking sites and watching YouTube videos.
The study showed that 70 % of employees use internet at work for personal use. I would have thought the figure might be even higher. Those who used the internet for such purposes weere found to be 9 % more productive than others who did not.
Good news then for emplyees chaffing at bars imposed by employers at work. Food for thought for employers spending huge amounts of time and effort in blocking sites and access to internet.
Anything within moderation is fine. I am sure the study doesn’t suggest that those addicted to internet should spend the whole of the working day surfing the net under the guise of ” improving productivity”.
Roger @ Allied Time said:
How do you monitor the amount of time employees are spending for personal time on the internet? I have had some employees spend hours on facebook. I can’t see how this is productive.
Prem Rao said:
I guess there ‘s no better method than trust. I suppose we need to have employees motivated enough to realize just much time they can spend on these activities without compromising on their core work. I can see no effective method of monitoring 24/7. people will always find a way to beat the sysytem.
Lynn Skelton said:
There are many programs for monitoring employee time spent on the Internet. We can suggest one we believe is very effective in doing so and is also cost effective. Let me know if you are interested. We can even do a one-on-one webinar with you.
In the end, if you are concerned about your employee’s internet activity during work you want a internet filtering/monitoring software that:
1) Allows you to customize its monitoring and control of internet activity to your particular company’s internet acceptable use policy and network dynamics.
2) Allows you to run multiple types of reports that will allow you to see what is really going on AND who is doing what and how much time they are doing spending on the Internet.
3) And has a very small footprint on your server so that it does not affect your network performance as it does its job.
If you are interested in having a solution suggested to you, let me know. You can contact me at 800-671-5569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynn Skelton said:
I feel that employees should take the time to “zone out for a bit to get back their concentration” during their lunch hour and authorized break times. That usually gives them about an hour to hour and a half each day to play.
It is one thing to spend a couple of minutes here and there throughout the day to check the news, email, and etc. and another thing completely to spend an hour or more a day surfing the net, shopping, on social media sites, watching YouTube, planning vacations, paying bills, & so-forth.
And I wonder if that 9% increase in productivity actually pays for the time that the employee spent on the net doing personal stuff outside of their lunch time and authorized breaks instead of doing company work.
Ask any employer if they want to pay each employee $2,500/year or even $1250/year per to spend an hour each day surfing the net? They would say, “NO!”.
How did I get that number?
The average employee spends 1 hour on the net doing personal stuff outside of authorized break times.
Let’s take a very conservative $10/hour/employee.
1 hour/day x 5 work days = 5 hours/week.
5 hours/week x $10/hour = $50/week. (Actual average cost is $20/hour/employee when you take in the wage + overhead)
$50/week x 50 weeks (deduct 2 weeks for vacation and holidays) = $2,500/year.
Multiply that out by 5 employees and you have $12,500/year going to paying employees to play on the net instead of doing company work.
This doesn’t take into account the added risk of downloading malware/crimeware from these non-business related sites, especially if they are downloading music, free/share-ware, going on to Facebook and etc thus, putting the company’s network and confidential data at risk and costing them even more money to clean up the network from the malware/crimeware. It doesn’t take into account that the network performance can be adversely affected by everyone doing personal Internet activity thus, reducing the employees productivity as well.
So, when we hear about studies like this one, we need to put on our thinking caps and go…did they take everything into account when doing the study? Normally they don’t.