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Most of us would be hard pressed to deny use of use employer provided internet access and paid time for personal use.

In fact a survey by in 2012 found that over 64% of employees use employer provided internet access for personal use at some point each day. Most employees 68% spent less than 2 hours each week with close to 39% surveyed spending less than hour.

The challenge for companies is to find the correct line between time wastage minimisation and employee well being, productivity and happiness. Especially in today’s social and mobile connected world it’s no longer just a case of employers blocking specific sites – as employees can easily use personal smart phones to access the internet OR easily circumvent IT restrictions.

Some of the survey findings highlighted they key challenge for HR and business essentially whether this time truly wasted. Most employees (71%) felt that short breaks include personal internet surfing / reading made them more productive.

When asked what were the reasons for “wasting time” the top six were

Before rushing to try to restrict to block access realise it’s quickly likely to backfire and raises new privacy and Human Resource (HR) policy issues.

Unsurprising most companies find blocking access not only fails to reduce time wastage / cost but also reduces security as employees simply move their activity to their own devices.

If your company is interested or determined to implement any internet surveillance or monitoring technologies be mindful of state and federal laws.

The best course of action for all employers is to be open about Internet use and fair and acceptable limits. Talk to key stakeholders and groups and prepare, develop and implement a policy for acceptable use of the internet. If you would like a head start The Electronic Frontiers Australia have provided a sample policy for free use, and adaptation for your own needs.

For all employees some common tips to protect your privacy and your job include: