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View Full Version : People slack off at work?! Seriously??


ChiTownAbs, Inc
09-25-06, 09:46 PM
Our free daily newspaper wrote an article about slackers at work. Apparently there are people that do stuff besides work.

Paid to play

Americans spend a lot of time goofing off at work
but companies are cracking down on slackers

Admit it. You've goofed off at work.

If you have access to a computer on the job, the opportunities to fritter away company time can be endless. You can shop online, pay bills, manage your fantasy sports team, update your MySpace profile, download music, read the newspaper and chat with friends over e-mail or IM. And if you don't have a computer, you can text pals or gossip with co-workers on the clock.

Americans spend almost a quarter of an eight-hour workday—1.86 hours—playing on the Internet, socializing with co-workers and running personal errands when we're supposed to be working, according to a survey by AOL and salary.com. It's a loss of more than $500 billion for employers, salary.com estimates, and some companies are cracking down by cutting off Internet access, blocking certain Web sites or monitoring e-mails sent from company computers.

Chicago executive assistant Salina Campos admits she wastes time online at work, though not as much as the average employee in the salary.com survey.

"I shop—I'm guilty of that," said Campos, 25, who recently was searching for good airfares to Las Vegas. "If I'm interested in something, I'll surf around and try to research it. Even though I have a computer at home, it's just easier to do it at work."

At a previous job, Campos said the employer checked what sites employees visited and reprimanded people who were doing private business on company time.

At her current position, Campos' boss has caught her doing personal stuff online but hasn't restricted her Internet access. She said she understands why companies would limit what employees do in the office.

"I wouldn't get mad. It's work—you can't really complain," she said.

Nancy Flynn, who runs the ePolicy Institute, which advises employers on electronic policies, said time wasted on e-mail and Web surfing is a huge problem for employers today.

A 2004 survey on personal e-mail by the ePolicy Institute and the American Management Association found that 86 percent of employees engaged in personal e-mail use at work, Flynn said. They spent an average of 2 hours a day doing it, while 10 percent admitted they spend more than four hours on e-mail.

"That's a tremendous amount of time wasted," Flynn said. And as technology evolves, "the opportunities for employees to slack off are increasing."

Legal researcher Mike Basile estimates he spends between an hour and a half to two hours wasting time at work. He checks his Hotmail account, pays cell phone and insurance bills, listens to songs on Yahoo music, checks the market (he's training to be a currency trader) and shops on eBay.

"I get away with a lot," Basile, who lives in Rogers Park, said with a smile. He thinks some of the leeway comes from being good at his job and finishing his assignments before he goofs off. Plus, he works at Basile Law Firm, which his brother owns.

Basile, 32, says he's cut down on some of his Internet use in the year he's worked at the firm. He used to waste at least an hour a day on a site called rateme.com, which allows people to rate hot women and men.

"I spent a lot of hours on that just clicking to the next girl," Basile said.

Now, he avoids the site and tries to go online only after he's finished his work for the day. He also comes in a few minutes early in the morning so he can check his e-mail before the workday starts.

"I'm getting better," he said.

Basile admits that if he were in charge, he wouldn't want to pay employees to surf the Web or e-mail friends.

"I could see why a lot of employers would be furious," he said. "They're losing a lot of money. I'm surprised a lot of companies haven't taken away Internet access."

A number of companies have cracked down on Internet use by blocking certain sites such as Hotmail or AOL from company computers or blocking e-mails that come in with attachments.

Companies say it's not just a matter of getting more work out of employees: Blocking games, e-mail and other Internet sites helps protect a company from computer viruses or from legal problems if an employee sends e-mail with harassing content or company secrets.

"There's waste of time for profit and waste of time for entertainment, and then there is downright dangerous waste of time," says Max Rayner, vice president of SurfControl. His company, which has 23,000 customers, provides software to block Internet sites or monitor electronic use by employees.

Flynn of the ePolicy Institute believes all companies should take advantage of that kind of monitoring technology to protect against viruses and lawsuits stemming from inappropriate Internet use (such as someone sending racist jokes in an e-mail or looking at porn while others can see it).

Companies do fire people who violate these policies, she said. According to a 2006 survey, 26 percent of employers have terminated employees for e-mail misuse and 2 percent have dismissed workers for inappropriate IM chatting, Flynn said.

Chicago-based consultant John Challenger thinks companies that crack down on employees who goof off are shortsighted.

The work-life paradigm is different now, Challenger said, and just as we're expected to bring work into our homes and time off, we should be able to do personal things in the office too--as long as we're getting the job done.

"I think it's a fair deal," Challenger said. "We carry our work 24/7, and we carry our personal lives 24/7. There are no boundaries."

Also, certain non-work activities can actually improve the workplace, he said. For example, playing in a fantasy football league could help build camaraderie in the office, while forbidding it could damage morale.

Trust your employees, he said. Judge them by their results, not how much time they sit at their desks. "You damage productivity [when] you don't treat people like adults."

M2theAX
09-25-06, 09:56 PM
whats the Big F'ing deal! People work way too hard, you can't expect people to actually be on top of their game 40+ hours a week, work + commute time + stress = neglected wives/husbands and kids.

dtcarson
09-25-06, 10:29 PM
I was reading a similar article in PC magazine today, and while the fact that people send emails and surf the web at work, what surprised me was the relatively huge number of hours spent surfing porn at work...one company surveyed said something like 22000 hours of websurfing, and 9000 hours of porn surfing were logged by their servers. It's one thing to hit CNN.com [or FoxNews or whatever], or even Amazon or Ebay, but to actively surf for porn at work is a little disturbing.
And they had one anecdote about someone who got fired for sending 10 or so personal emails.

And yeah, I'll quit hitting a few sites to shift mental gears when the smokers quit taking their hourly 10 minute smoke breaks.

When I had a private office, I surfed the net more at work than at home. I could multitask, and at home I'm usually either interacting with my wife/boy or doing something away from the computer.

JasonF
09-25-06, 10:46 PM
Hmmm ... that article looks interesting. Remind me to read it tomorrow at the office.

Mikael79
09-25-06, 11:48 PM
If my internet access was taken away at work, I'd probably shut it down, so they'd better not try that! If they do...I'll just chat more to co-workers, read books and daydream.

I seriously do work hard, and I get a lot done during a day. But I need some time every now and then to unwind.

On days we're really busy at work, I won't even browse for a minute, but on slow days I'll spend a good long time reading news and such online. The way I see it is that as long as I'm there when I'm needed - leave me alone when I'm not.

kvrdave
09-26-06, 12:05 AM
It would be interesting to see a study that would compare if places that have shorter work weeks, like France, goof off at a proportional rate, more, or less.

lordwow
09-26-06, 06:27 AM
At my workplace, we are a 24/7 operation, essentially a quasi-security/customer service job. Probably the biggest perk of the job is that we can bring our laptops to work (as long as we stay generally attentive), but at 4 AM... there really aren't that many people up and about.

One day our boss decided to ban laptops. It went over about as bad as you could possibly imagine. Suddenly everyone who was working started posting their shifts, and the attempt to get "full coverage" for one of the busiest times of the year turned into a situation where no one would work.

So ya, internet is pretty much essential at work.

And ya... I'm on it right now at work.

Buford T Pusser
09-26-06, 09:20 AM
A woman I know got caught emailing nude photos via company email to her co-worker boyfriend that was cheating on his wife.

No one was fired. :eek:

Michael Corvin
09-26-06, 09:33 AM
As long as your work gets done on time or ahead of schedule I don't see the problem.

They let smokers have 10 minutes every hour so why is 10 minutes on the net an hour a problem?

VinVega
09-26-06, 09:54 AM
The work-life paradigm is different now, Challenger said, and just as we're expected to bring work into our homes and time off, we should be able to do personal things in the office too--as long as we're getting the job done.

"I think it's a fair deal," Challenger said. "We carry our work 24/7, and we carry our personal lives 24/7. There are no boundaries."

Also, certain non-work activities can actually improve the workplace, he said. For example, playing in a fantasy football league could help build camaraderie in the office, while forbidding it could damage morale.

Trust your employees, he said. Judge them by their results, not how much time they sit at their desks. "You damage productivity [when] you don't treat people like adults."
:up:

My personal view is that if you're getting your job done, who cares? If it's interfearing with you completing your assignments, then we have a problem.

Charlie Goose
09-26-06, 10:03 AM
I surf at work. These computers don't have anything like shockwave, quicktime, etc. loaded so I can't play games or watch videos unfortunately. None of my work is ignored and there's a lot of down time, so it's not a big deal. I don't go to any questionable places like porn or bomb-making sites.

Nifty03
09-26-06, 10:15 AM
See: Omerta

Giles
09-26-06, 10:17 AM
hence why there is DVDTalk :D to do as little work as possible.

slop101
09-26-06, 11:01 AM
It's a loss of more than $500 billion for employers, salary.com estimates
That's flat-out bullshit, especially because in most cases the job still gets done on time.

When I'm not "slacking off", I'm working that much harder and I get just as much done as if I didn't slack off at all - you can fit only so much work into a 10 hour work day.

Michael Corvin
09-26-06, 11:14 AM
That's flat-out bullshit, especially because in most cases the job still gets done on time.

When I'm not "slacking off", I'm working that much harder and I get just as much done as if I didn't slack off at all - you can fit only so much work into a 10 hour work day.

I agree. I've never understood those bullshit numbers thrown around, especially during March Madness. The US is losing $10 bazillion a day in lost productivity because of employees monitoring brackets. Fuckin bullshit. As long as the work gets done, no one is losing anything.

The Bus
09-26-06, 11:36 AM
And yet, the US is still consistently one of the most productive nations on Earth.

Mikael79
09-26-06, 12:21 PM
I think we could be even more productive if more companies relaxed things a bit, let people breathe a little, and really rewarded hard work.

I don't have kids, but I all too often see co-workers forced to ignore their children's needs in order to work OT, attend functions, etc. I'm a firm believer in the old 8/8/8 schedule (8 hours sleep, 8 hours work, 8 hours free-time), but it seems like every year, a little more of my sleep and personal time gets taken away for work.

But...that's just my opinion. :)

SonOfAStu
09-26-06, 12:29 PM
I won't lie to you. I jack off at work. Seriously.

Breakfast with Girls
09-26-06, 12:47 PM
People should have no downtime! Ever! :mad:

Anubis2005X
09-26-06, 01:36 PM
I won't lie to you. I jack off at work. Seriously.

One of the many reasons why I refuse to go to McDonald's...

SonOfAStu
09-26-06, 02:05 PM
One of the many reasons why I refuse to go to McDonald's...

I don't eat at McDonald's either, but I assure you it's only one of MANY places that people jack off at work. I don't suppose this is really off-topic unless you work at a fertility clinic. Then it wouldn't really be "slacking off".

Mrs. Danger
09-26-06, 02:15 PM
Before computers, people would read the paper, read books, pay their bills, play cards.... it's just that with computers, there is a way to keep track of it.

Doughboy
09-26-06, 02:15 PM
Thankfully I do tech support, so I'm in front of a computer all day. Certain websites are blocked. I work for a school district, so MySpace is a definite no-no, as are virtually all porn and dirty humor sites.

But I can listen to my Yahoo Launchcast and surf most websites as much as I want as long as I'm taking calls and doing my job, so there's never any problem with internet use around here.

SuperJim88
09-26-06, 03:49 PM
People should have no downtime! Ever! :mad:

[speaking to myself]Imagine the duck as Breakfast with Girls. Imagine the duck as Breakfast with Girls. [/speaking to myself]

http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/09/duck-shooting-gallery.jpg

http://www.coolest-gadgets.com/20060921/duck-shooting-gallery-relieves-stress/

milo bloom
09-26-06, 03:53 PM
The way our schedules work, between things like shopping and taking care of the house, our "us" time is severely restricted to a few hours a night. Weekends we're usually too tired to do much of anything either.

I don't get those numbers they throw around either about lost productivity. I'm reminded of my favorite saying, "There are three kinds of falsehoods: lies, damn lies and statistics."

lukewarmwater
09-26-06, 04:22 PM
At my last job I remember reading the history of the company and they were saying like in 1970, i think, full time was considered 20 hours a week. And sadly the pay wasn't that much less then it is now.

msdmoney
09-27-06, 03:14 AM
It all boils down to if you are getting the job done. Many office jobs where people surf the web or chat don't have strict break times, so often people will take a few minute break to check personal email. I don't think people can maintain focus for 8-10 hours days 5 days a week I think it all balances out because the 10 minute breaks, makes people more efficient during working times.

Of course there are always extremes, but I think in general a happy employee is a more productive employee, the more restrictive companies get with time, the less inclined people are to work hard.

mndtrp
09-27-06, 04:13 AM
My boss told me I could take naps at work, providing I don't miss something. Thanks!!

fmian
09-27-06, 05:58 AM
We just had new proxy settings put in place at work overnight and now I can't go to websites that I need to use to do my day to day work. Told my boss about it and he said nothing could be done about it cause people will abuse the system otherwise.
These are major websites though, for large hardware companies like Apple, HP, Canon, Microsoft etc that I visit to check specs and resolve customer issues.

Guess I have something to blame now if they see none of my work being done.

Butch Coolidge
09-27-06, 06:56 AM
It would be interesting to see a study that would compare if places that have shorter work weeks, like France, goof off at a proportional rate, more, or less.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/26/business/EU_FIN_Global_Economic_Competitiveness.php

Looks like long working hours ain't enough