According to research obtained by K3 Managed Services, 14% of the UK workforce spend almost 50% of their time surfing the internet for personal use.

It found that on average, 64% of workers in the UK waste one hour a day at work while 14% waste three hours a day; of this time 48% is spent surfing the internet for personal use.

K3 Managed Services suggests that employers need to establish a fair usage policy to eliminate time wasting and help to promote greater productivity.

It says that an effective usage policy will clearly set out how employees are expected to use computers and the internet in their workplace, before explaining that a robust usage policy goes beyond promoting a better work ethic. It says that it also supports security and licensing policies ensuring that a business is not at risk from software piracy or a security breach.

A business owner is responsible for their employees use of unlicensed software whether they know about it or not and if caught, would have to pay a substantial fine, it explained.

The amount companies can be fined for a data security breach was increased from £5,000 to £500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and with the possibility of huge fines, businesses can no longer afford to take risks.

Jason Price, Head of Sales at K3 Managed Services, commented:

“When we discuss the results of how their bandwidth is being used with our customers, many are shocked to see how much is taken up for personal use by employees.

“This poses a dilemma for managers as the Internet and many social media websites are now an integral part of business operations. As digital channels continue to mature, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to place blanket bans and restrictions on Internet access.

“However, companies with a robust Internet Usage policy can effectively manage their staff time online, and also ensure that they stay on the right side of the law.”