In a recent survey conducted by Websense and Harris Interactive, it was found that employees are using company internet connections an average of 3.4 hours a week for personal surfing.

IT managers believed that figure is higher, and estimated personal surfing at just less than 6 hours per week. 17% of employees admitted to using messenger and chat programs for personal use, with 43% of those sending or receiving files. 23% of men surveyed had accessed pornographic material whilst at work.

“..many employees are either not admitting to, or most likely not aware of, how much time they are really spending on personal surfing,” Curt Staker, president of Websense, Inc.

The cost of personal surfing to business is substantial. Apart from wages paid for unproductive time, there are the bandwidth costs to be considered.

Whilst most employers would provide a little leeway with regards to personal surfing, very few would be accepting of the actual time being spent. The difficult thing however is to lessen or stop this practice, when for most employers there is no way of knowing what employees are doing on their computers throughout the course of a day.

The solution is to make use of the latest network surveillance and computer monitoring software. Not only do you gain an accurate insight into what each employee is doing on the internet, but you can also record those details and save the logs as required.

Establishing an acceptable use policy for your internet connection, may also assist you in this regard, and can be effective when used in conjunction with network monitoring software at helping to increase productivity.

It is important to note that certain computer monitoring practices, such as the reading of employee’s emails, may be illegal in your area. Be sure to check the legalities of your intended use for monitoring software before deploying it in your business.