The internet – NSFW?

Step away from the computer...

This is why the internet is NSFW.

Research from Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia has found that the average worker will spend up to an hour a day browsing the web for personal reasons – but says employers shouldn’t be worried.

It’s not the employers I’m worried about.

Apparently researchers measured the internet usage of 50,000 workers over a six month period and found that on average workers spent between 30 and 60 minutes browsing non-work related sites. Usually social networking websites, news, weather and transport timetables.

In some offices they have blanket bans on any estate agency, house sale and shopping sites. Oh, and porn, Obviously.

So the worry for employers would be that no one is doing any work because they’re all skiving off on twitter or facebook.

However, the Melbourne study says workers tend to browse these sites for as few as 10 seconds at a time, to break up work tasks and have a short break. And, that companies should not be worried because many of these activities were replacing, rather than supplementing, other forms of workplace socialising.

According to lead researcher Dr Rajesh Vasa: “This behaviour has migrated to an online medium. It hasn’t changed the behaviour substantially; it’s the same behaviour – just online.”

So it’s not that staff are skiving off more – just differently.

You never know who you'll get to swap gossip with on a fag break

Instead of nipping off for girly chats in the toilets, spurious trips to the shops, sneaky cigarettes on the fire escape or one of those mythical conversations round a water cooler – people are remaining glued to their seats, plugged in to their work stations, staring zombie-like at their screens without respite or real human interaction.

This is terrible. This is why the internet may be Not Safe For Work for the workers, not the bosses.

(Thanks to The Vecci blog for the pointer.)

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “The internet – NSFW?

  1. Depends who your colleagues are, surely? If you’re in an office with a bunch of idiots and bores and bigots, surely it’s preferable to spend time reading an entertaining and informative blog – BlackWaterTown, perhaps – than suffering the confused regurgitation of Daily Mail headlines that passes for conversation in these places?

  2. Goofing off for up to an hour a day? Don’t remember that going on when I was in the work place … but we didn’t have computers.

  3. Blogging has made me put on 15 pounds. I am in the chair all day.

  4. Very true that personal online activity has merely replaced other non-work routines. Though I doubt if that’s an improvement if regurgitating the Daily Mail is being superceded by visits to porn sites, icanhascheezburger and the Pippa’s Bum Facebook page.

  5. I am blessed! I don’t work for a living, but spend up to three to four hours everyday before the computer and on the internet at that. What acronym can you think of for a bloke like me?

  6. Wait. The water cooler is mythical?

    Crap. There go my grand plans to enter corporate America just to gossip in the break room.

    Nevertheless, you make a great point in this post ~ employees of any kind are always going to need mental breaks.

    Same idea, different medium…lucky for us bloggers/writers (???)

  7. If I was in gainful employment, surfing the net and twitter would be relegated to the home time.

  8. Guilty. I check blogs and news sites throughout the day whenever I’m in between tasks. I used to spend more time visiting with coworkers for a quick break, but most of the interesting people have left for more rewarding pastures.

  9. blackwatertown

    @ Tim – OK you win. Hee hee.
    @ Carl – you need a vibrating chair – for exercise jiggle as you sit.
    @ Nick – thanks for the Pippa’s bum facebook page reminder. I still haven’t looked for it yet. Surely a failing in one supposed to be possessed of an enquiry mind. Obviously that search will be for “journalistic purposes” – the usual excuse.
    @ Rumuser – you’re a POW – prisoner of the web.
    @ Maxi – but that’s why ciggies were invented. To give you an excuse until computers came along.
    @ Julie – Yup, the water cooler was killed off by the tap. Cheaper to maintain. And just as classy a place to hang out. Though if it’s in the toilets the conversations tend to be segregated on gender lines. (Oh the top end offices I visit – or should I say – cost and environmentally conscious).
    @ Grannymar – But then it would be like those driving games in motorway services. You know, you drive for hours, staring at the road, then you pull into a motorway services for a break, and spend it playing one of those driving games where you stare at the road for…
    @ Exileimaging – Ah, so Tim (at the top) used to work in your office, did he? He didn’t mean you.

  10. Drat. I hope the workplace of 2011 hasn’t put an end to my corporate life of years ago. I found the greatest spot to gain corporate intelligence was the handicapped bathroom next to the men’s room where I worked. All the deals were actually done there. The meeting was just like a meeting of heads of state. All the details were worked out there. And computer or no computer guys like nothing so well as to get together and tell each other how smart their idea is. I know. I “sit in” on their meetings – the closed door ones. SH

  11. I agree. I surf quite a lot at work but the buggers have got cunning and only allow 30 minutes access to blogs . . then I can Facebook all day because they have a Facebook page . . duh!

  12. Ah, interesting. I bet this technology is making everyone more introverted. They’d rather text or email or whatever than actually talk to someone in person or by phone. And that includes me, but I doubt it’s good for me. I don’t think I’ve become too much of a computer zombie yet, though. At least, I’ve never used facebook or twitter before.

  13. blackwatertown

    @ Baino – duh indeed.
    @ duckofindeed – Just shows one shouldn’t jump to conclusions. You’re an avid blogger – so an active social media participant/contributor/writer/whatever – and yet you’ve never used facebook or twitter. The one does not always imply the other.

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