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    Winter-2016  


Employee Internet Use For Personal Tasks, Fun Is Significant Problem For Employers

This month’s edition provides an in-depth look at how technology is easing the workload for HR Professionals. Here are ways HR professionals can utilize evolving technology to improve hiring, staffing, employee morale, onboarding and other management tasks.Online reference checking tools

Almost 20% of the United States’ workforce will focus their attention in the coming weeks on fantasy football. That’s 21.3 million full-time employees, each spending an estimated nine hours per week researching and tweaking their fantasy football team, which totals almost 767 million hours of potentially lost productivity a month according to a recent report by employment consultants Challenger, Gray and Christmas

For most businesses, preventing employee access to the Internet is impractical.

While the Internet brings many business benefits to the workplace, it also presents HR professionals with an increasingly difficult challenge – minimizing employees’ unproductive Internet use during work hours.

It is inevitable that – with unrestricted Internet access – a majority of employees will spend at least some time during the day browsing the Web for non-work purposes.

And when events like the fantasy football season come around, employee web monitoring may seem like a daunting task.

Contrary to what some experts might think though, survey findings indicate that allowing employees some “leisure” time on the Internet during the work day actually improves morale and productivity.

The tricky part for HR professionals is determining the proper, effective and most cost effective policy to govern employee usage.

Too loose of an acceptable use policy runs the risk of lost productivity and the potential for a major security snafu; but banning “personal” Internet use altogether could cause employee burn-out and discontent.

In addition, it’s much more difficult to enforce Internet surfing breaks than it is to manage a traditional break.

Employees can lose track of time on social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Seasonal events, breaking news stories and sports games can also be very big distractions for employees during the work day.

Many HR professionals have learned that the best strategy is to customize web browsing policies to effectively increase workforce productivity without being “intrusive” to employees.

David Attard, Product Manager for GFI WebMonitor at GFI Software offers suggestions as to the best practices HR professionals can follow to reduce unproductive Internet.  At the same time, these suggestions can be used to strengthen network security, mitigate legal liability and optimize bandwidth usage simultaneously:  

  • Determine Internet browsing policies – One way HR managers can ensure productivity without de-motivating employees with too many restrictions is to define and enforce Internet usage policies based on time and bandwidth quotas. For example, rather than blocking fantasy football websites completely, apply a quota of 20 minutes per day. This will allow employees to monitor their league without abusing their access privileges. Or, rather than blocking access to all streaming media sites, eliminate only bandwidth-intensive downloads instead.
  • Understand the security risks – Uncontrolled web browsing and downloading from the Internet during office hours not only lowers employee productivity, but also puts companies at an increased risk of security breaches and malicious infections. Restrict access to websites and downloads that pose high security risks, such as gaming sites or movie trailer downloads, and consider a web monitoring solution that includes multiple antivirus solutions as an added layer of protection from malicious threats.
  • Keep legal liability top of mind – Block access to categories of sites that could leave your employer legally liable.
  • Leverage reporting capabilities – Using a web monitoring solution that includes reporting capabilities will allow you to easily identify problem areas as well as employees who aren’t following Internet usage policies and will enable you to take steps to remediate these issues quickly and effectively.

 


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