Singaporeans spend nearly 10% of their online time at work using social media and doing online shopping

10 December 2014

Think your boss doesn’t know you surf, shop or use Facebook at work?

A survey of Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in Singapore has revealed the widespread use of company internet bandwidth for a range of non-work related activities.

According to the survey by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half, Singapore employees spend an average of 9.3 per cent of their online time at work visiting shopping sites, looking up travel deals and keeping in touch with others through social media.

The survey was conducted in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan and involved 225 CTOs and CIOs, including 75 from Singapore.

Table 1: How much of your employees' online activity is spent on non-work related sites such as social media, online shopping, travel sites?

 

All Countries

Hong Kong

Singapore

Japan

 

Average time

 

12.38%

 

13.24%

 

9.32%

 

14.61%

 

Employees at firms with less than 500 employees average 9.2 per cent of their online activity at work doing personal activities, while employees in mid-sized firms (500 and 999 employees) spend the most time - 12 per cent.

Employees at larger firms with more than 1000+ employees are the least likely to be doing personal surfing during work time, spending an average of just 6.2 per cent of their time engaged in personal activities while online at work.

IT departments in larger firms are also much more likely to restrict their employee’s internet access with more than half (56 per cent) blocking access to shopping sites.

Across all companies surveyed, 35 per cent block access while another 52 per cent allow access and monitor for excessive use.

Table 2: What is your company's policy regarding employees shopping online while at work?

Singapore

Total

Small 

(1 to 499 employees)

Medium

(500 to 999 employees)

Large

(1000+ employees)

Block access to some sites

35%

35%

16%

56%

Allow access but monitor for excessive use

52%

53%

74%

25%

Allow unrestricted access

9%

13%

5%

6%

Other/don't know

4%

0%

5%

13%

 

Ms Stella Tang, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said employees spending time at work surfing the net is not as big a problem as it sounds.

“The time employees spend surfing at work seems high and many companies are moving to place restrictions on employee access to non-work related sites. However, an employee’s personal activities need to be weighed against the contribution an employee makes to the company.”

“If an employee is performing above expectations, few employers will worry about them spending a bit of extra time getting their holiday sorted or buying a present for their family.”

“Larger firms tend to have more controls in place as they have more resources in their IT departments to establish policies and monitor employee activity. Mid-sized firms may have more informal work environments where the culture allows flexibility as long as the employee’s overall performance is acceptable.”

“Online activity is an entrenched part of our lives today and it is important for employees to stay connected, even when at work.”

“When employees are allowed to surf the internet, they need to realise that their behaviour is likely to be monitored so they should use the company’s internet in moderation,” Ms Tang said.

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