Cyber-slacking: The Challenges Facing Business Owners

Boss scolding a shameful employee at work in an office

Cyber-Slacking’s 3 Primary Areas of Impact:

Lost Productivity

Cyberslacking costs millions of dollars in lost productivity each year. Business owners are concerned about lost productivity as it affects the bottom line and impairs business efficiency and customer service. The U.S. Treasury Department monitoring discovered that over half of the internet use by IRS employees was for personal reasons. Another study found that visits to pornography sites during the 8-5 workday accounted for almost ¾ of all the visits to those sites. In a survey of online shopping, AOL and RoperASW found that 43 percent of people take time from their workday to shop. “Reasonable employers expect workers to handle some personal chores on the job,” says Lewis Maltby, president of the National Work Rights Institute. Most employees don’t intentionally violate workplace rules, but in many instances, some personal use turns into hours of lost productivity.

Employer Liability

Cyberslacking is also a problem from a liability and legal perspective, as businesses can now be held responsible for employee conduct while using the Internet. Liability might occur in areas such as breach of copyright, breach of confidentiality, loss of commercially sensitive information, and employee harassment. In addition to possible liability for acts committed by employees against other employees, a business owner also has potential exposure to liability for illegal online activities by an employee in the workplace. The common law legal doctrine respondeat superior may allow an employer to be held liable for the wrongful or unauthorized acts of its employees committed within the scope of employment.

Company Security and Resource Drainage

Controlling Internet usage is only one aspect of the e-business security issue. Business owners are implementing more cybersecurity measures to filter out spam emails from employees’ inboxes; however, a growing, less-addressed issue is employees accessing their social media accounts at work. For example, an employee might access their Facebook account, click on a phishing message that was sent to them by a friend’s compromised account. This attack would place the organization’s information at the same level of risk as email-based phishing schemes.

Cyberslacking also causes a drain on company resources and can include many factors, such as leaking confidential information, staff replacement, financial impact, financial drain, security costs, and legal costs. An estimated 10-20 percent of network traffic is non-work related. This traffic uses up valuable bandwidth and hampers mission-specific Internet use. Efficiency is impaired when a company’s resources are diverted from business use to non-business use.

Reducing Cyberslacking

It is essential that companies train employees and put Internet policies in place to minimize cyberslacking. Business owners must grasp the seriousness of the legal, ethical, and productivity issues that cyberslacking brings to the work environment. Written and enforced company policies concerning Internet use will establish clear ethical boundaries. An open dialogue and increased employee training will raise awareness and help employees personally define the legal and ethical line between use and abuse of the Internet.

If your business needs help establishing and communicating guidelines for Internet use, Garner IT is here to help. We have written policies in place for our own company and can assist in implementing your company policies. Give us a call at 850.250.3210 or stop by our office at 1330 Harrison Ave, Panama City, FL 32401 for more information.


Subscribe to our newsletter to receive latest news and updates.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Garner IT Consulting, 1330 Harrison Ave. , Panama City, FL, 32401, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact