By Jim Whitt
What is the cost of lost productivity in the workplace? According to an Inc. magazine article by Leslie Taylor, the total price tag is $544 billion dollars a year in the United States alone. That figure came from a survey by Salary.com and America Online. Here are some other interesting statistics from the survey. Socializing with coworkers wasted 26.3% of the day, running errands outside the office accounted for 7.6% and 6.6% of the time was wasted just spacing out!
Everybody who has complained about the younger generation not having the same work ethic as those of us with some gray hair won’t be surprised to find “people born between 1950 and 1959 waste 0.68 hours at work each day, while those born between 1980 and 1985 admit they waste 1.95 hours.”
While the survey found employees spend an average of 1.86 hours per eight-hour workday on something other than their jobs 52% admitted that their biggest distraction during work hours is surfing the Internet for personal use. That’s a loss of more than 20% a day. A more recent survey found that lost productivity due to personal Internet surfing costs $178 billion annually.
It wasn’t that many years ago when computers were monstrous machines that filled entire rooms. There is no denying that the development of the personal computer has dramatically increased productivity and effectiveness. We rely on computers in almost every aspect of our lives. Now, we have mini-computers that we carry in our pockets with as much computing power as those mainframes. We can make phone calls, browse the web, send and receive email and produce videos all from a device that would have made Captain Kirk jealous.
All of this technology can be addictive. Teenagers sit next to each other and text each other when it would be easier to speak to each other. I saw a woman the other day in a restaurant with her phone cradled between her ear and shoulder so she could scarf down a taco with both hands and keep talking. Maybe she was auditioning for a role in a commercial. “Can you hear me now?”
Then there is Internet Addiction Disorder which is a problem even in China according to an Associated Press article by Henry Sanderson. “Chinese psychologists say symptoms of Internet addiction include being online more than six hours a day — playing games and looking at pornography rather than working or studying — and getting angry when unable to get online.” A Chinese hospital was treating patients who suffered from Internet addiction with electric shock therapy until China’s Health Ministry pulled the plug on the practice.
While businesses may be tempted to use the Chinese method to reduce the amount of time wasted for personal use online we do not recommend it. I asked my friend Damon DoRemus at Geek Rescue for a more humane solution. His company has developed an online productivity tool called SafeDNS that enables clients to block time-wasting sites from their network. It’s inexpensive and Damon says it will earn a return on investment many times over the 20% of the workday that is lost due to non-business use on the Internet. He agreed to make a special offer to our readers. To get your first month free go to http://www.geekrescue.com/purposeunlimited/ or call 918-369-4335 and tell them Purpose Unlimited sent you. For those of you interested in the Chinese solution, you’re on your own.