Employees’ day out as they turn office PCs into game consoles

Washington, October 28:

It probably wouldn’t shock most bosses, but three out of four of their employees are using their work computers for email, shopping, surfing and other personal business, according to a survey released today.

Seventy-four per cent of office workers use their work computer for personal tasks, the survey of nearly 530 Information Technology (IT) managers and end users at companies in North America, Britain and Europe found.

Fifteen per cent do not use their work computers for personal purposes while 11 per cent of the respondents preferred not to answer the question.

The survey was conducted September 17-31 by NewDiligence, an independent market research firm, for Belmont, California-based FaceTime Communications, a provider of Internet security solutions.

The survey looked at publicly traded and privately held firms, non-profits, government organisations and educational institutions. The margin of error was not published.

The most frequent personal use of a work PC was to send email to friends and family, followed by looking at Web sites (84 per cent), banking and personal finance (68 per cent) and shopping on the Web (57 per cent), the survey found. Fifty-seven per cent use their work computer to listen to music or look at pictures and video while 44 per cent use it for Instant Messaging (IM) chat with friends and family.

Thirty-two per cent connect with friends through social network sites from their work computer and 20 per cent update their social network profiles with photos and videos while at work.

Eight per cent use their work computer to update their personal blog or comment on other blogs. But if employees are using their work computers for personal activities they’re also using their home computers for work, according to the study.

It found that 90 per cent of employees own a PC and 85 per cent use it for work reasons. These include email (85 per cent), loading documents brought home on a disc or flash drive (79 per cent), or downloading documents from the corporate network (73 per cent). The survey also found that visits to social network sites while at work were not strictly personal.

Fifty-one per cent of end users access social network or media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or YouTube at least once a day and 79 per cent do so for business reasons — professional networking, research or learning about colleagues.