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Reducing the occurrence of cyberloafing

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Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Oftentimes I hear managers (my friends) say that many of their employees are not motivated to work anymore. Says one lady manager: “We are losing thousands of hours’ worth of productivity each year. Just taking into account the endless hours many of our employees spend surfing the Internet (sending personal email, web surfing, instant messaging, shopping online, playing games and other internet-related activities) when they should be working instead – is alarming. I believe this is simply symptomatic of a more serious issue.”

When employees surf the Internet during office hours for activities which are not work-related, they are “cyberloafing” or “cyberslacking.” Worldwide, cyberloafing is rampant resulting in a less productive workforce. Unmotivated employees, that is.

The question that needs to be answered is: Why do employees engage in cyberloafing or cyberslacking? Today, more and more companies are concerned that a large number of their workers are spending more time surfing in the Internet during office hours activities that are not work-related. In one US report by the end of 2003, it was estimated that, “cyberloafing” is costing the US economy $250 billion in lost wage expenses. In a 2004 survey in United Kingdom (UK) by an employment law firm, it was found out that UK employees spend forty per cent of their day “cyberloafing.”

Companies are now realizing that they have to make the jobs more interesting to employees; to devise programs for employees to overcome monotony in work ; and also to tailor organizational rewards to individual needs. Not to mention, giving more attention to the relationship factor . In other words, creating a positive work culture in the organization so that the employees will not indulge in cyberloafing .

Demystifying the cyberloafer’s psyche should be the concern of every employer nowadays. Especially so because the world internet usage is now unstoppable. While the internet has emerged as a powerful tool in business in the 21st century, the flipside is that the internet is taking away much of a person’s time. No wonder many companies are taking an increasingly tough attitudes towards cyberloafers. Meaning employees guilty of cyber loafing are being slapped dismissal. This hard-line stance discourages new recruits and hires to walk away. Despite this concern, many employers take the hard-line stance.
Because cyberloafing is spreading like a virus. And cyberloafing is becoming as common as insubordination, poor performance and other offenses committed by employees.

In an attempt to reduce the occurrence of cyberloafing, some companies install spyware on computers to monitor cyberloafing. This notwithstanding, cyberloafing is now a major headache to many employers here and abroad. Adding to the problems of businesses. And has therefore to be attended to with speed by managers. Why ? Because productivity is immensely affected.

Have a joyful day!

(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: villafuerte_nelly@yahoo.com).

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