Survey: Web Proves More Addictive Than Coffee - InformationWeek

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Survey: Web Proves More Addictive Than Coffee

American workers would rather sacrifice their morning cup of Joe than lose their ability to cruise the Web for personal reasons on the job, survey says.

Surfing the Web for personal reasons at work seems to be more addictive than that morning cup of coffee at your desk.

According to a survey by Websense Inc., a provider of employee Internet-management software, 52% of managers and employees would rather give up coffee than their ability to cruise the Web for personal reasons at work. Forty-four percent favor the taste of java over Web surfing.

More significantly, the sixth annual [email protected] study reveals, Internet use at work is increasing: 93% of respondents access the Web at work, up from 86% in 2004.

Among surveyed employees who use the Web at work for personal reasons, the most popular non-work-related Web sites accessed are news (81%), personal E-mail (61%), online banking (58%), travel (56%), and shopping (52%).

Employees spend 12.6 hours a week on the Internet at work for work-related and personal reasons. IT-decision makers surveyed, on average, think employees spend more time on the job at non-work Web sites than the workers admit doing. Employees accessing non-work Web sites admit that they spend 3.4 hours a week doing just that; however, their bosses think they spend nearly six hours a week for personal Web surfing while on the job. That's consistent with earlier surveys, Websense says.

"As the line between professional and personal usage of the Internet becomes more of a gray area, many employees have started to rely on the Internet to complete their job duties as well as perform personal tasks--during the work day," Websense president Curt Staker said in a statement accompanying the release of the survey. "With the sheer quantity and variety of Web sites and applications readily available, many employees are either not admitting to, or most likely not aware of, how much time they are really spending on personal surfing. The solution lies in balancing employees' needs for personal use of the Web at work without draining overall productivity, morale, or the company's bottom line."

Websense hired Harris Interactive to survey by phone 354 IT decision-makers and 500 employees with Net access at work from organizations with at least 100 employees between Feb. 28 and March 21. Other findings of the survey:

• Higher percentages of men than women engage in personal surfing at work. Nearly two-thirds of men admitted to accessing non-work-related Web sites during work hours versus slightly more than half of women. Men are more than twice as likely as women to visit sports sites during working hours, and men are more than three times more likely than women to visit investment and stock-purchasing sites during work hours.

• More men than women view pornography on the job. Nearly one-quarter of men versus 12% of women admit accessing porn sites. But of those viewing porn sites, only 16% of men and 11% of women say they did so intentionally.

• Nearly one in five survey respondents say they listen to or watch streaming media, and 16% use instant messaging at work at least once a week. Playing games on their work PCs decreased; only 6% of employees do so, down from 14% a year earlier.

• Among those using instant messaging at work, 43% either send or receive file attachments via IM, up from 37% last year. Three in 10 respondents use IM mostly for non-work-related purposes. According to the IT decision-makers surveyed, nearly two-thirds of companies do not have corporate-sanctioned instant messaging.

• IT decision makers surveyed on average estimate that 6% of an organization's total disk space is taken up by non-work-related files, such as MP3 files, photos, and movies.

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