A few weeks ago we launched a brief survey on cyber-slacking -- some of you may have taken part (if not, you can still participate and get instant feedback). Our main goal was to assess the relationship between cyber-slacking and employee engagement. The rationale was quite simple: if people are bored at work, could the internet help them cope with boredom? In the advent of Facebook-mania, are social networking sites injecting some excitement into otherwise boring 9-5 shifts? Here's a quick peek at our preliminary results and what they imply.
What people do: There are no sex differences in cyber-slacking, with the average male employee as likely to waste time online as the average female. On average, our respondents reported spending 1 hour and 44 minutes per day cyber-slacking! This amounts to almost 25% of paid employment time wasted on job-irrelevant activities -- Economists will be quick to translate this into economic costs at National level. Likewise, when we asked participants how much time their colleagues wasted cyber-slacking, the average time estimated per day was 1 hour and 55 minutes (this is in line with a well-known effect found in counter-productive work research, where people would always admit to doing something they shouldn't, but also estimate that their colleagues are even worse at it). Unsurprisingly, Facebook was the preferred site for cyber-slacking, with an average 35 minutes per day spent per person on average -- and women spending slightly more time on Facebook than do men. The second most popular site was Twitter (15 minutes per day), preferred slightly by men. Other popular sites were Youtube and LinkedIn (10 and 5min, respectively). There were predictable age differences in preferred sites, with younger people (20 or so) spending more time on Facebook and Youtube, and older people (30+) spending more time on LinkedIN.