December 10, 2014
How To Stop Employees From Wasting Time
Human beings are not naturally wired to sit and work for 8 to 10 hours at a time, so the issue of employees wasting time on the job has always existed. The web has simply made it easier and much more tempting as well. When an employee "has to choose" between working on the annual report for the sales team or visiting TMZ to read about the latest celebrity gossip, only the most oblivious of managers will believe that the annual report is going to be finished on time.
The 2013 study [link
], in particular, provided fascinating insight into not how much time employees waste online, but the type of sites they spend time on:
- 37 percent on news sites
- 14 percent on social media sites
- 8 percent on entertainment sites
- 3 percent on sports sites
- 2 percent on random travel sites
Perhaps the only good news in these statistics for employers is that their employees were not spending a lot of time on job-search sites.
The sites which were most popular with "unproductive" individuals:
- Facebook: 15 percent
- LinkedIn: 10 percent
- Google+: 8 percent
- Amazon: 6 percent
- ESPN: 2 percent
- YouTube: 2 percent
- Twitter: 2 percent
- Craigslist: 2 percent
- Pinterest: 1 percent
Since LinkedIn is often used to network in order to find a new job, perhaps the news isn't so good for employers after all. It would be particularly infuriating to know that many of your employees are not only wasting time online, but seeking out potential new career opportunities on your dime.
The future, of course, is difficult to predict, but it's easy to imagine this workplace problem continuing to grow even more serious. Ten years ago, career experts would have laughed at the idea of smart phones being a key business tool, while today they are ubiquitous. Five years ago, those same experts would have claimed the BlackBerry would be a must-have for employees for years to come, while today employees would mock a company which issued them a BlackBerry phone.
Of course, the productivity of employees is not the only technological concern employers need to worry about. Anyone accessing the web from work is likely to put their entire office's network at risk. The statistics surrounding the proliferation of malware on the web are shocking; for example, from January 2011 through December 2012, there was a 50 percent increase in the types of malware launched online.
Most companies believe their security and firewalls are sufficient to stop such threats. This belief is misguided at best. Consider Project Blitzkrieg, a new form of malware known as an advanced persistent threat, which was launched in the fourth quarter of 2014. It tricked users into supplying information which allowed the program to access banking systems and complete fraudulent electronic money transfers. Any employee could have fallen prey to this program while wasting time at work playing around on the web - a few clicks on tempting links and suddenly the company's system is subject to the type of malware attack that ends up being reported in the New York Times.
Fortunately, there is a two-pronged approach which addresses both the loss of productivity and the risks of network exposure. Discovering what employees are doing online is the first prong. Disciplining them for violating company policies based on their conduct is the second.
Many businesses implement specific policies regarding employee usage of the Internet on company time. Without some way to enforce those policies, they are usually about as effective as laws requiring you to drive at or below the speed limit. After many fits and starts, the business world has settled upon a method for preventing employees from wasting time online - computer monitoring software.
There's a solution for employers, however. Spytector is the one employee monitoring software program designed to remain hidden regardless of the anti-virus system being used. It does this by using a stand-alone module application that the program builds. In fact, Spytector is currently effective when run alongside the following industry-leading anti-virus programs:
- Norton AV
- Kaspersky AV
Of course, some employees may be more sophisticated than others, and would be on the lookout for suspicious-looking surveillance programs. Spytector is noteworthy in these cases, because it does not appear as a program running in the Windows Task Manager nor will it be flagged by Windows Defender.
The real advantage of Spytector is that is able to go far beyond the limits of similar programs. If employees are not responsive to disciplinary efforts, Spytector allows companies to take the next step by blocking employees from accessing Facebook, Twitter and other popular websites with restrictive filters. If that doesn't stop employees from wasting their work time, it's probably time to look for new employees.
Employees are being paid for a full day of work, and aside from a personal phone call or two, that's what their employers are entitled to. Monitoring employees' computer activities is an act which unquestionably has a positive effect on the bottom line. Let's take a look at the financial benefits of using a program such as Spytector.
For the purposes of this example, let's assume that a business has five employees, and that each employee wastes half-an-hour per day browsing the web. That equals a loss of 12.5 hours a week of combined productivity for the five employees. Multiply that across 50 working weeks (minus vacation time), and the company has suffered 625 hours of lost productivity due to web surfing. If you assume the average hourly wage paid to each employee is $20, the financial loss in productivity is $12,500 per year. That's nothing for a small business to sneeze at.
Now, imagine how that number changes as the total employee population increases. Using the numbers above, the financial damage can extrapolated:
- 20 employees: $50,000 in lost productivity per year.
- 50 employees: $125,000 in lost productivity per year.
- 100 employees: $250,000 in lost productivity per year.
As you can see, the question is no longer whether a company should monitor what its employees do on the computer during working hours, but how it can afford not to monitor. The answer for more and more companies is clear - monitoring is a necessity. This trend is so widespread that a recent survey conducted by the American Management Association found fully 78 percent of businesses actively monitor the computer activity of their employees.