Although there’s no doubt that the Internet has greatly enhanced day-to-day business transactions for many organizations, it also comes with a downside—and that is the increasing use of the Internet by employees for personal reasons during business hours. In fact, recent studies show that of the 87 percent of employees who are using the Internet for personal reasons while they’re at work, 53 percent do it every day. With those types of statistics, you can easily see the magnitude of the problem.

Many employers believe that the answer to solving the problem lies in the use of computer monitoring software. While this type of software may be effective in tracking inappropriate use of the Internet, it’s also very invasive.

In fact, many of these products fall into the “spyware” category. And when employees discover that their employers are using spyware to keep track of their day-to-day activities, it creates a lack of trust between employee and employer, not to mention the damage it does to employee motivation.

Even if a business owner or manager does decide to use one of these products to track Internet use, it still will never be completely effective because of the increasing use of smart phones. More and more employees are carrying their smart phones with them every day. And with the recent wave in popularity of social media sites like Facebook and others, it’s easy to imagine how frequently your employees are checking Facebook, Linkedin and other social media sites.

If they’re not engaging in this activity on their workplace computers, they’re still engaging in it on their smart phones.

So rather than using software to track how unproductive an employee is, we’re suggesting using another type of software to track the employee’s productivity instead. Imagine a software package that enables you to measure how long the employee is engaged in productive work on the computer. That product would provide an activity monitor of sorts to allow you to measure productivity without the invasive tactics used by spyware.

This type of solution becomes even more important as the number of people who telecommute continues to increase each year. A recent study indicated that 30 million people or more telecommute every week, at least on a part-time basis. If you think it’s difficult to track employee Internet use in the workplace, just think of the challenge involved when the employee is working from home! What employers really need is a non-invasive monitoring tool that would act as an activity monitor for employees no matter where they work. Chances are that if employees know their work is being measured, they will be more motivated to increase their overall productivity.

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