My report today is based on cyber-loafing-an issue that has been gaining importance over time and has been described as ‘a plague that has seeped into almost all organizations of the world. ’ So what exactly is cyber-loafing? And why is it such a ‘hot’ debate of in today’s business world? The dictionary describes cyber loafing as: ‘Slang term used to describe employees who surf the net, write e-mail or other Internet-elated activities at work that are not related to their job.
These activities are performed during periods of time when they are being paid by their employer. ’ Therefore, it can be said to be illegal on moral and ethical grounds because an employee is paid by the organization to fulfill the duties he owes to it and not use his paid hours for his own personal entertainment. Being a part time employee myself, I can honestly but shamefully say, that yes, cyber-loafing is an active part of my daily routine. I too routinely surf the net for my horoscope, checking my e-mail, keeping up-to-date with celebrity gossip and the likes.
But this has caused me to question that why cyber-slacking happened in the first place. Studies show that poor morale, low motivation and unchallenging jobs are the top three reasons. Understandably so. An employee with a monotonous job or one that does not require the best of his efforts is more likely to fall prey to cyber-loafing then an employee with a challenging job. A study also found out that cyber-loafing was more common among lower level employees such as assistants and secretaries rather than the higher tier of management.
Surprisingly, after such a lot of attention given by the media and psychologists on ways to improve office morale and subsequent spending of millions on such programs by organizations, low office morale remained the leading cause of cyber-loafing. So either the programs are not as effective as we are being projected or other morale boosting activities need to take place. So how can cyber-slacking be controlled? The obvious answer is to penalize such slackers so fellow loafers can be better warned (Greenberg, 2003).
But more effective then employing such a stick method (which may cause resentment and in some cases, retaliation form employees) is for organizations to try to make jobs as challenging as possible so that employees actually find the new test that their work offers invigorating. Human Resource departments also suggest merging of jobs-that is instead of hiring two tow secretaries, the organization should hire only one so that there is lesser chance of employees finding the free time to use the internet for their own personal purposes.
But again this may have the downside of union action and fear of being fired among employees. In the end, the responsibility for cyber-loafing lies both with the employees and the employers. The employees should realize the importance of honesty and ethical behavior and the employers should employ technology and methods not only to find the cyber culprits, but also to take steps to make jobs interesting and motivating for employees. References . Book Greenberg, J. (2003). Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science. Lawrence Erlbaum.
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