Employees defy work rule to access personal e-mails

One in three UK employees with access to the internet use it for personal e-mails or Web surfing at least once a day, despite the fact that 90 per cent of employees admit that they know their companies have specific policies restricting personal use.

According to a new survey from research agency BMRB, nearly half of internet-enabled employees admit to accessing the Web at least four times a day.

BMRB’s 2005 National Employee Benchmark Survey found that many businesses restrict use of the internet to specific times of day – only 44 per cent of employees can use it whenever they wish and only 41 per cent are allowed to access the internet at work for personal use.

But BMRB points out that those 41 per cent score the highest levels of commitment – among those who do not have internet access for personal use, only 18 per cent score similar high levels of commitment.

The bulk of the UK workforce (71 per cent) has internet connection at work, with access near saturation in the IT and financial services sectors, (95 per cent and 89 per cent, respectively). However, for employees in the travel, transport storage or retail sector, access is much more limited, with only half the staff being able to use the internet at work.

⢠A recent survey by US magazine Advertising Age estimates that 25 per cent of US workers spend 3.5 hours a week at work reading non-work related Web logs or blogs – the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs a year.

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