Internet addicts surf on work time

A new survey finds that some employees are spending up to an entire workday each week surfing the Web - but not for work purposes

One in four employees has a serious Web habit, spending more than one entire workday each week surfing non-work-related Web sites while at their desks.

But their employers don't seem to think there's a problem: only 8 percent of companies report any knowledge of workplace cyberaddiction, according to a survey from Websense.

The report found that some workers spend more than one entire workday each week surfing non-work-related Web sites while at their desks. News, e-commerce and even porn sites are among the most popular online destinations. The survey revealed that 67 percent of workers access news sites for personal reasons and 37 percent access shopping and auction sites while in the office. In addition, 2 percent of employees admit accessing pornography and 2 percent admit gambling online at work.

While 78 percent of employers block employee access to pornography, only 47 percent block access to gambling sites, 20 percent block shopping and auction sites and 4 percent block news.

Dr Marlene Maheu, an Internet addiction expert and chief executive officer of Pioneer Development Resources -- an organisation which develops Internet and telehealth aids -- said in a statement: "Studies have shown that from 25 to 50 percent of cyberaddiction is occurring at the workplace. That means employees are getting paid to participate in activities that are not work-related."

Harold Kester, chief technology officer for Websense, added: "The survey shows there is a huge gap between what employees are doing on the Internet and what employers know. Left unchecked, free and open Internet use can lead to severe productivity and legal liability issues for organisations."

Websense makes software which can control employee Internet use.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive, which polled 305 employees and 250 human resource managers from US companies with up to 38,000 employees.

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