Hey, quick question: What are you doing reading this? Not that we don't want you to, we're glad you're here! But the problem is this likely has nothing to do with your job, and therefore falls into the "cyberloafing" category. This trend is essentially why the Internet continues to dominate our lives: It's an endless source of procrastination and dammit, we love putting things off. In fact, according to a new study, if you're not cyberloafing, you're either lying or in the minority.
The study was led by Joseph Ugrin, an assistant accounting professor at Kansas State University, and John Pearson, an associate management professor at Southern Illinois University. The duo wanted to see what the impact of cyberloafing was on employers, and what effect policing cyberloafing had on employees. According to their data, workers spend about 60 to 80 percent of their time while at the office looking at things that don't have anything to do with work. While we all spend a heap of time wasting hours online, there were some differences in how we waste that time. "Older people are doing things like managing their finances, while young people found it much more acceptable to spend time on social networking sites like Facebook," Ugrin told Newswise.
When the researchers tried to find out how companies could cut down on cyberloafing, they came to a bit of a problem: People view it as a right. In fact, even when companies threatened employees with disciplinary actions, the employees merely shrugged their shoulders, and went back to watching cat videos and posting status updates. "We found that that for young people, it was hard to get them to think that social networking was unacceptable behavior," Ugrin said. "Just having a policy in place did not change their attitudes or behavior at all. Even when they knew they were being monitored, they still did not care." That's either very gangster of employees, or very stupid.
The funny thing about all of this is that in the few cases that companies did take steps to curtail workers, it negatively affected the workers' morale. But if companies don't do anything at all, they're screwed too. "We don't want to make everyone at work upset because the corporate office is watching over their employees' shoulders," explained Urgin. "But what if workers are wasting all of their time online? Where's the balance?"
We think Urgin already knows the answer to that question: There really is no balance. Companies will just have to accept cyberloafing as part of the deal and let employees click away. Otherwise... You're not even reading this anymore, are you?
[Pic via Flickr - Joseph Nicolia]