Few Workers Link Internet to Decline in Performance

A survey conducted by Greenfield Online and sponsored by pogo.com takes a look at how Internet access at the office changes the way people work and play during business hours.

According to the survey, 9 percent of workers think their performance has declined as a result of the time they spend on the Internet. When broken down by geography, twice as many workers living in the West (13 percent) think their work performance has declined compared to Eastern workers (6 percent).

Ten percent of workers stay after business hours just to use the Internet, the survey found. High income workers prefer to use the Internet after business hours. Twenty percent of workers earning $75-100K stay after hours, compared to just 8 percent of workers earning under 35K. Women are twice as likely (2 percent) as men (1 percent) to make more mistakes due to increased time spent surfing the Internet. Access to the Internet makes it harder for them to stay focused at work, according to 13 percent of workers. Workers in the West (17 percent) find it harder to stay focused compared to Eastern workers (10 percent).

E-mail, always one of the most popular uses of the Internet, has made doing business easier in many respects, and that may account for its popularity. According to the survey, 74 percent of workers check their email 1-5 times a day. Eleven percent check their email 6-10 times a day. Three percent check their email 11-15 times a day; and 8 percent check their email more than 15 times a day.

E-mail usage is also divided along age and gender lines. Men are twice as likely (10 percent) to check their email more than 15 times a day when compared to women (5 percent). More than 20 percent of workers under the age of 25 check their email more than 15 times a day; compared to only 1 percent of workers over age 55. More than one-third of workers prefer talking about business via email rather than face-to-face.

Only 4 percent of workers say their boss or other work supervisor has commented or complained about the amount of time they spend online at work. Workers in the Eastern US have the fewest complaints about online time from their employers (2 percent) compared to 5 percent of workers from the Central US. Four percent of workers in the West say their employers have complained about their time online while at work.

The survey also asked workers how they prefer to spend their lunch hour. Fourteen percent said they prefer to stay at the office, eat lunch at their desk, and use the Internet. Almost 25 percent prefer to leave the office and have lunch at a restaurant.

The survey results are based on 1,000 responses from Greenfield Online’s Internet-based marketing research panel. The data is weighted by age, gender, and region to be representative of the Intenet population.

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