Monday, June 12, 2006


"If i wasnt surfing at work I would not have read this valuable message."

I dropped by Donald Trump's blog again after getting an invitation to his online university (it claims to be elite, but how elite can it be if I get spam in my email about it?). Recently, he had this entry about browsing the internet at work:
When you're at work, how much time do you spend on the Internet? Way too much, if you ask your boss.

A new study of Web surfing on the job finds that on any given day, an employee might check out porn, fall for an email scam, or watch a music video on company time. According to the study, half of office workers would rather give up their morning coffee than give up surfing the 'Net at work.
The article goes on, noting that Twelve percent of workers admitted visiting a pornography Web site while at work. Of those workers, ninety-five percent said they clicked on the X-rated sites by accident, which I suspect is overrepresented, but not completly unlikely given the way some blind links work. Certainly I've seen banner ads for porn on sites that have nothing to do with sex or nudity (such as music lyrics and movie script sites).

Mr Trump notes that what might seem like innocent discussion of work might in effect be industrial espionage, passing on data that the company wants under wraps. Certainly the danger of a virus or spyware is something a business wants to avoid.

Certainly for some jobs, internet access is a valuable resource as at its heart the internet is not for porn, (link slightly racy) but is rather a vast information network, a free library of data around the world. For other jobs, such as working at home, the internet gives you advertising and contacts globally that you could not have otherwise. But for most jobs, there is zero reason for internet access at work, and a temptation to waste time.

Commenters at the site logged in (not at work of course) to say this:
I can say the same wrt telephones and employees making personal phone calls. No employer really wants to be that anal and have employees mark out which was personal and which was business calls (and get charged accordingly). Same with the net. As the MD of an internet company I give my employees free reign. Yes, we monitor downloads and can track which sites were visited when, but usually the pure fact that our employees know this is enough reason for them to be cautious of which sites they visit.
-by beachbum

Amazingly enough, when an employee loses internet or email access, they react as though their pay has been cut! Our network was so filled with viruses and spyware, it took a week to clean up. When the employee who caused the mess lost access to all but essential access to the internet and email, her downward spiral finally landed her on the street. Not only did she spend company time surfing, but caused expense to repair the outcome. Of course, when asked, the employee had no idea what happened. Although the damage was positively traced to her, she was outraged that a stop was put to it. How dare we ask to have our workers actually accomplish something during the workday, other than meltdown our entire network.
-by Mike

I could not agree more! All too often people whine about a lack of time to accomplish their tasks, yet find time to surf and send the silliest of stuff. While I enjoy a good joke and my personal down time, I know that my clients would be mortified if I surfed while they shared their needs with me. If I am going to follow anything I have learned from Mr. Trump, I am going to remain aware of the needs of my clients and how I can best fufill them. Surfing is for personal time. As I surf out of my home, porn is not an option. I have teenagers in the home who do not need such an example in their lives, nor am I particualrly a fan. When I feel the need to refocus, I walk away from my desk, drink a glass of water (often a lack of attention is in all actuality physiological and a form of dehydration) breath 3 deep breathes and I am re-energized. I must admit, I do take time to research my industry online during working hours, if I find the temptaion to surf then, I again get up and walk away for a moment to refocus. Amazing how much more gets done than when I used to check email and surf everytime the bell rang!
-by Debbie Lane C.Ht

Yeah...I agree with you Mr Trump. How about Surfing at work by visiting your nice blog?
-by Bunyamin Najami

I work 8 hours per day,and all 8 hours I am connected on Internet.That's the nature of my job.Exploring data bases and resources and creating new products.My boss seats behind my back !!!and knows every aspect of my surfing.Only what matters is my productivity and eficiency and sense of humor:-)))))
-by *f*i*r*e*f*l*y*

I think it's particularly troubling that such a relatively high percentage of workers have admitted to visiting pornography sites at work. While employees certainly put their job at risk by visiting such sites, they put the company itself at far greater risk considering that by visiting such sites they are exposing themselves to an increased chance of becoming a victim of adware or spyware that may compromise confidential company data.
-by Matt

Mr. Trump. Love your blog. You are out of date on this one. Your younger executives dont spend time drinking coffee and reading the Wall Street Journal or the NY Times from a paper copy. They log on and get a summary of the news and competition by reviewing their news summary from Yahoo.
-by M. Deeny

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Anna Venger said...

I've been wondering about that. I know why I have free time during the day, for now anyway, but how do all these other people have so much time on their hands? Are they retired, unemployed, underemployed? What's up? One thing I've learned is that the net is a black hole of time, albeit an amusing one.

Christopher R Taylor said...

I work at home so I have the time and access, but I don't really know with a lot of people.

I was working at an office once building cubicles, running wires, etc and the computers went down. All the people working crossed their legs, kicked back and started reading, calling friends, talking... basically without the computers up they had no job. If thought that was just wierd.

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