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Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Surfers at work cost UK firms a mint
Employees who surf the internet in company time are costing UK firms at least 9.6bn a year, a report has claimed.

The 44% of Britons with access to the internet at work spend an average of three hours a week surfing for personal interest, web policing firm Websense has said.

Assuming an average wage of 11.88 an hour, the amount of worktime lost to personal surfing hits 9.6bn, the firm said.

"Once hailed as a productivity tool, the net is now also considered a major distraction for companies nationwide," said the firm, which develops software allowing employers to monitor internet use by staff.

Websense chief financial office Douglas Wride said: "Nine billion pounds is actually a conservative number when you factor bandwith loss, storage costs and human resource costs associated with free and open internet use in the workplace."

US estimates

In the US, personal surfing accounts for up to 40% of internet use by the 57 million workers believed to have web access from their desks, reports from Dataquest and IDC have revealed.

Entertainment, shopping and pornographic sites are among the most popular visited by US workers for their own interest, researchers claim.

The claims follow the release of data showing the productivity of US workers recorded its biggest drop for eight years in the first three months of 2001.

See also:

06 Jun 01 | Business
Company crackdown on staff who surf
19 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Workers lose three hours to net
15 Dec 00 | Sci/Tech
Press send to censor
18 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Cybercops arrest online liberty
01 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Warning over e-mail snooping
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