Americans hooked to surfing at work: Study

MUMBAI: Ask the working Americans to choose between their morning coffee and internet surfing at work - Don't be shocked when a majority of them would go for the latter option. Exactly 49 per cent said they would rather give up their morning coffee!

This is just one of many startling results thrown up by a research conducted by Harris Interactive for Employee Internet Management (EIM) software company Websense Inc. Last month, 500 employees and 350 IT managers of organizations with at least 100 employees were polled on their web and software application usage in the workplace.

Some of the interesting findings surfaced during the survey:

51 per cent of employees said they spend between one and five hours per week surfing the Internet at work for personal reasons, that is an average of 2 hours per week.Approximately 17 per cent of employees admit to using instant messaging (IM) at work. Interestingly enough, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of companies do not have corporate-sanctioned instant messaging, according to IT managers.

22 per cent of male employees said they had visited a porn site while at work, while 12 per cent of women had done so. Of those, 13 per cent of the men admitted it was intentional. Of the women that indicated they had visited a porn site at work, all of them said it was unintentional.

21 per cent of employees said they use streaming media to do such things as listen to Internet radio or watch live news casts via the web, while six per cent of respondents admitted to ever downloading and storing any non-work related video clips or movie clips on to their work computer. However, IT managers estimate that 10 per cent of their company's total disk space is taken up by non-work related files, such as mp3 files, photos, and movies.

News sites with 84 per cent top the list of the most popular types of non-work related Web sites that employees access at work, followed by travel 

(64 per cent), personal email (56 per cent), shopping (55 per cent), and online banking (53 per cent).64 per cent of men admitted to accessing non-work related Web sites during work hours versus 55 per cent of women. Furthermore, men are two times more likely than women to visit chat rooms or message boards during work hours, and they are also two times more likely than women to visit mp3 sites.

In addition, the survey exposed IT managers' ignorance of the real goings-on in their territory! They are either not aware of, or do not fully understand the risks presented by new emerging Internet threats such as spyware, unsanctioned instant messaging, peer-to-peer file sharing and Web-based viruses such as MyDoom. For example, nearly 95 percent of IT managers rely on their company's current anti-virus software's ability to stop viruses, yet two-thirds reported that their organisations were infected by a web-based virus.

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