Working online is becoming more and more commonplace, with many companies now asking employees to use personal laptops in the office. The obvious issue that arises is keeping employees focused on their work. In this post, we discuss steps to ensure that time isn’t wasted online during office hours.
Most jobs nowadays involve the use of IT in some capacity and many modern tasks require workers to spend large amounts of time online. Unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on productivity and may cause incidents at work. The temptation to use the internet excessively for personal use during office hours is increasingly irresistible. This is becoming particularly so given that many employees now use their own devices to do their work.
According to a recent survey by Salary.com, a staggering 62% of employees waste between 30 minutes - 1 hour of office hours every single day. Much of this is via the use of personal computers or mobile phones.
The term cyberslacking is used to refer to when office hours are wasted due to the use of technology for social/personal reasons. Understandably, cyberslacking levels can be very difficult for managers to monitor and control. Managers can often find it difficult to strike a balance between allowing some personal tech use and letting cyberslacking become a parasite on company finances.
Here are some guidelines to adhere to when it comes to combating cyberslacking in the workplace.
Rules and Regulations
As a boss or a manager, you need to outline clear rules for your employees as to the use of technology for personal means. After all, you can’t expect your employees to know exactly how much personal technology usage is over the line. Until you set clear boundaries, your employees won’t know when to stop.
The rules you impose with regard to personal use of technology are up to you and of course, will differ depending on the type of business. For example, the use of iPods and mp3 devices may be okay for some office jobs, but obviously won’t be for security personnel, receptionists, those working heavy/dangerous machinery, etc. You may want to limit personal mobile or internet use to lunchtime and breaks. The important thing is to devise a usage policy that employees can easily follow and that will benefit their work output.
Communication is very important in the workplace, and many online platforms can help to improve communication while also helping minimise cyberslacking levels. Team communication tools such as Slack and other similar applications strike an attractive balance between professional and casual. Slack, which can be used in a browser or via a desktop app, allows team members to chat in groups or individually. Users can send files, links, and other important updates to one another. Slack’s instant messaging is quicker than emailing, while it simultaneously makes communicating with colleagues via social networks or texts unnecessary, thus lessening the temptation for workers to cyberslack.
Sit your employees down and bring them up to speed on what it means to be careful with personal technology usage. Show your employees why the rules are being put in place and the benefits to be gained from following them.
Understandably, many employees might feel that checking Facebook once an hour or a quick phone call here and there doesn’t matter that much. However, try to show them what the aggregate would be if all employees were to do this daily, and the losses it would mean for the company over time. Be realistic about cyberslacking and your employees will understand the gravity of it.
The boundary between work-related online activity and social online activity is certainly becoming more and more blurred. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by global giants. Facebook is currently in the process of developing a new app that can be used during office hours called Facebook at Work. What exactly the interface will look like and allow users to do is as of yet undecided, but it could prove an attractive option for businesses who want to strike a balance in the workplace. Facebook at Work plans to create a different, distraction-free version of your existing profile for use during office hours.
Whatever the solution to cyberslacking you choose, awareness of it is key. In today’s tech-heavy world, cyberslacking is only going to become more of a problem for businesses, so it’s important to be proactive in adopting ways to combat it.