Organisations need to review their employee internet usage policies before
this summer’s major sporting events begin to ensure staff do not
"cyberskive", law firm Eversheds warns.
Euro 2004, Wimbledon and the Olympics all take place over the next two months
– in time zones conducive to following the events online while at work.
Employees logging on to check match results or run a permanent ticker
service on their computers can cause problems, according to Jonathan Armstrong,
a lawyer at Eversheds.
"While most employers are not concerned with a little bit of personal
use – and may even encourage it to get staff used to using the internet – the
main problem is where the line is drawn when it threatens the organisation’s
efficiency," he said.
"As well as the issue of lost employee time, some organisations can see
a detectable slow down of the system."
Wimbledon events of the past, particularly when Tim Henman reached the
latter stages, hold the record for the most bandwidth used on internet-enabled
terminals for many UK organisations, according to Eversheds.
Armstrong said that software can go part of the way to solve the problem,
but he advised HR departments to review procedures before the events begin,
looking at training programmes and how to formulate and police policies.
However, organisations must beware of going too far with their employee
monitoring policies, the TUC warned.
Many employee monitoring initiatives lead to an invasion of staff privacy, a
drop in productivity and an increase in stress levels, making them
counterproductive, the Congress said.