Personal Space

With Kirsten Cluer.

Research shows that a typical employee spends around ten percent of their paid time on non-work related online activities, and in some cases this rises to 40 percent. Whether it’s via a pc or mobile phone, surfing the net on company time is nothing new. There’s much to do; shopping, news, checking the bank balance, paying bills, answering emails... before we even begin to think about social media.


Six out of ten people admit to going online to conduct personal activities during the working day; even the most diligent among us will spend a few minutes checking on the kids, cancelling the dentist or having a quick glance at the football results. Most of us would not take undue advantage but excessive usage can have a real impact on productivity and performance, as well as being irritating to colleagues and customers alike.


So what does this mean for your organisation? Banning or blocking such activities outright would be counterproductive, as it penalises the many for the abuses of the few and is likely to fuel resentment. Instead of restricting use outright, consider creating a clear usage policy.


Draw up a code of ‘do's and don'ts’ (these may differ widely between organisations) and attach them to a consent form, which everyone is invited to sign. For mobiles, this might include where they are kept, the sounds they make, when and where they can be used and expectations during meetings. Ensure the policy is fair and balanced, emphasising trust and personal responsibility.


However, any such policy is worthless if it isn’t enforced. One option for pc’s is to install time tracking software to monitor employee internet use. There are various options available which can be tailored to the needs of your workplace and it need not be expensive or overly intrusive but must respect an individual’s right to privacy.



If you’d like a free initial consultation on personal internet/ mobile usage or need HR advice and ongoing support we’d love to hear from you. Please call on 01386 751740 or email



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