The average UK employee spends 90 minutes each week surfing the web for personal use, costing the economy more than £10bn per year, research has found.
A survey of 503 organisations by the CBI also revealed that almost two out of every three employers were aware their staff were mixing business with leisure during the working day.
Employers in both the public and private sectors estimated that 4.4% of working time was lost this way, adding up to 10 days a year and an average annual cost of £939 per employee.
“Employers understand that the internet has become a part of everyday life and are prepared to be flexible,” said John Cridland, CBI deputy director-general. “Many firms feel that, as long as the job gets done, there is no problem with staff surfing for personal use.”
“However, £10.6bn a year is a significant sum and this is an issue that firms need to be aware of. It can become a problem where staff are spending excessive amounts of time online, putting the organisation’s reputation at risk.”
More than half of organisations (54%) restricted internet access at work, although only 14% restricted web access altogether. A quarter (25%) had no limits on access.
Almost a third of employers admitted to disciplining staff for internet misuse.