Wednesday, July 9, 2008

InternetSafety.com Lists Top 10 Online Time Wasters Plaguing Workplace Productivity

BUSINESS WIRE--InternetSafety.com, the recognized leader in Internet safety solutions, today announced it has compiled the Top 10 Online Time Wasters that currently diminish employee productivity at the workplace. The listing demonstrates the diverse range of online distractions that tempt workers from 9 to 5.

According to a 2007 survey conducted by Salary.com, employees spend roughly 20% of their workday on non-work-related Web activities. Another recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that men are more likely to engage in personal Web surfing at work than women; weather, sports, and investment/stock sites are all top destinations that are visited more often by men than women. Blogs and pornography sites, while less common, are seen at least twice as often by males as by females.

Surfing the Web for personal reasons while at work continues to compromise the effectiveness of American workers, said Shane Kenny, President and COO of InternetSafety.com. Billions of dollars in lost productivity are the result, which is why courts are upholding employers rights to terminate employees for excessive Web browsing. Its important for everyonecompanies and workers aliketo understand the drain that results from casual Web use.

The Top 10 Online Time Wasters, listed in no particular order, include:

  • Social Networking SitesRecent statistics show that over 170 million people are active users of the two most popular two social networking sites, Facebook.com and MySpace.com. Bebo, Blackplanet and Xanga are other top choices.
  • Online VideosThe YouTube phenomenon continues to spill over into the workplace. Well over 100 million YouTube videos are watched each day; Nielsen Online research finds that the greatest number of Internet videos are watched on weekdays between 12PM and 2PM, when most people are at work.
  • Adult SitesWhile most companies have policies in place prohibiting viewing of sexually-explicit content at work, violations continue to generate lawsuits for sexual harassment and wrongful termination.
  • ShoppingRetail eCommerce generated over $136.4 billion in sales during 2007 (U.S. Census), a 19% increase over 2006. According to one study, 70 percent of all online purchases occur between the hours of 9AM and 5PM.
  • Vacation PlanningWhether simply as a stress reliever or because of job dissatisfaction, planning vacations remains a top pastime at work. One New York City school administrator, even after being warned, was fired in 2006 after a check revealed he had visited over 300 vacation Web sites in a six day period.
  • Job SearchesAs counterintuitive (and indiscreet, given that theyre at work) as it may seem, most people look for a new job during working hours, using their current employers computer resources and email accounts. Top job search Web sites include monster.com, careerbuilder.com and jobster.com, although hundreds of industry-specific sites exist as well.
  • News and BlogsBlogger.com, Gizmodo.com, Perezhilton.com, and Engadget.com are all popular sites. Harris Interactive found that 15% of men and 6% of women spend time each day on blog sites.
  • Online AuctionsAmong the top shopping sites are the auction services such as eBay, uBid, and auctions.yahoo.com.
  • Online GamesAs if Solitaire wasnt enough, games.yahoo.com, congregate.com, popcap.com, images.google.com/imagelabeler, and forumwarz.com are all popular, as well as many multi-player sites that involve other Web users.
  • Gambling SitesThe National Council on Problem Gambling reports that 60% of all U.S. adults have gambled in the past year; two million U.S. adults meet the criteria for problem gambling. Online poker is especially addictive, with 777.com and goldenpalace.com both considered top sites.

To assist enterprises in controlling access to these and other classes of Web sites, InternetSafety.com has created EtherShield, a low-cost, plug-and-play Internet filtering appliance for organizations of 10 to 200 people. EtherShield filters Web sites in 35 categories; managers can either use the pre-set content filtering, or whitelist or blacklist specific sites or classes of sites as desired.

In addition to content filtering, EtherShield will block instant messaging applications, chat rooms, newsgroups and peer-to-peer file sharing services such as BitTorrent. If a user attempts to use a banned site, a log is added to the database of policy violations.

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