Thursday, August 09, 2007


The Internet Is The "Water Cooler" Of The 21st Century

The article at the link below addresses the place of the Internet in the lives of contemporary office workers, particularly those of the "web generation". Here are some stats from a study conducted by a San Diego company:

1) 61 percent of office workers surf the net for an average of three hours a week (or 19 days a year).

2) 81 percent of men and 70 percent of women consult web sites on the weather.

3) 42 percent of men and 18 percent of women visit sports sites.

4) 15 percent of men and 6 percent of women read blogs at work.

5) 16 percent of men and 8 percent of women look at pornography online in the "privacy" of their cubicles.

Although many companies will block access to pornography and gambling web sites, most are reluctant to eliminate web access altogether. According to one source, "Balancing the personal and the productive when it comes to employees using the Internet is one of the biggest problems business is facing right now." Cutting off Internet access altogether will cause many disgruntled employees to seek jobs elsewhere, but allowing them to spend too much time on the net would obviously affect productivity. A laissez-faire attitude tends to prevail, with most companies tolerating at least some web surfing if those who indulge in it complete their assignments in a timely fashion. Experts prefer careful monitoring over outright restriction, and suggest defining which types of web sites are okay to visit from the workplace, and which are not. Above all else, employees should be informed that their web behavior may be monitored, as well as why some web sites must be blocked.

The Internet is an essential work tool for millions of workers, and its presence is virtually irresistible. Besides, if employees really want to visit the Internet, they can do so from their iPods, iPhones and cellphones even if they are blocked from using on their office PCs. Corporations can no more prevent web surfing than they can eliminate small talk or sexual attraction, but some control is better than none, and the illusion of even more control is better than either.

"Workplace bends to theWeb generation" from Financial Post

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