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Employers warned to be on guard against cyberloafing

A new study from Kansas State University suggests that office workers spend even more time than previously thought aimlessly browsing the internet during working hours.

“Cyberloafing” – wasting time at work online – takes up as much as 80 percent of the time people spend online at work, according to the data collected by Joseph Urgin, an assistant professor at Kansas State, and John Pearson, an associate professor at Southern Illinois University.

The results were published in the latest issue of the journal Computers in Human Behaviour.

Their results also suggest that traditional work guidelines surrounding internet use are not enough to police worker behaviour, and that if companies really want to scale back the amount of time their employees spend surfing the web, they must “consistently enforce” sanctions to uphold their cyberloafing policies.

“We found that for young people, it was hard to get them to think that social networking was unacceptable behaviour,” Urgin said. “Just having a policy in place did not change their attitudes or behaviour at all. Even when they knew they were being monitored, they still did not care.”

Then again, not necessarily all “cyberloafing” can be measured as a net loss for businesses. A 2011 study found that in certain fields, when people spend time casually browsing the web at work, they actually end up being more productive and creative. – Sapa-AP

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