Toronto -- Checking sports scores or sending instant messages to friends may seem inconsequential, but time spent online on
personal activities adds up. Executives polled said they believe employees, on average, spend 40 minutes each day on non-business-related e-mail, instant messaging and Internet use at work. And while surfing the Web may seem like a guilty pleasure, it's not a secret one. More than two-thirds of those surveyed (70 per cent) said their organizations monitor employee Internet activity at least somewhat closely.
The poll includes responses from 100 senior Canadian executives -- including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps, the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals.
Executives were asked, "On average, how many minutes each day do you think employees spend on non-work-related e-mail, instant messaging and web surfing?" The mean response was 40 minutes.
The same individuals also were asked, "How closely does your firm monitor employee Internet activity?" Their responses:
- Very closely: 27%
- Somewhat closely: 43%
- Not very closely: 19%
- Not at all: 9%
- Don't know: 2%
"Many people are unaware that a permanent record exists of their Internet and e-mail use at work," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies(R) (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). "Most organizations actively monitor web use by employees to ensure it complies with established corporate policy."
Messmer added, "Staff members should familiarize themselves with company guidelines for Internet and e-mail use. Employees are representatives of their firms and all communication, including e-mail and instant messaging, should be professional. This also applies to the use of company resources to visit websites."