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Cyberslackers Get Sacked
If you hadn’t noticed already, there’s been a few stories around recently of people getting into trouble for spending to long on sites like Facebook and MySpace. According to the BBC and law firm Peninsula, staff are wasting 233 million hours a month and up to £130m a day updating profiles, reliving their childhood on eBay and playing pointless Facebook apps. All of these erstwhile pursuits contribute to extended breaks and lost productivity and have got the bosses in a panic.
This army of ‘Cyberslackers’ is growing as access to the net in the workplace increases. It’s causing so much concern that some places have even gone as far as banning access to Facebook. In the case of Neath Port Talbot Council they went further in taking action against time wasters. As well as the three jobs gone, there’s another couple of people under investigation for ‘eBay adddiction’.
Whilst some would applaud such actions, for me this marks a disturbing turn of events for employees. I also fear that if this trend grows, it could potentially cause more damage to the UK’s economy than Northern Rock doffing its begging cap to the Bank Of England.
Why you ask? Well imagine what would happen if workers stopped slacking on t’web during work hours for fear of losing their jobs? Imagine the amount of money that would stop pouring through the UK economy if office workers stopped shopping during work hours? After years trying to get profitable, Amazon would become a wasteland as the day time traffic and orders dried up. Imagine the amount of man hours that would be lost if people had to throw sickies to stay home and play Deal Or No Deal, free from the worry of their boss unexpectedly leaving their eBay session to come and find them gambling on work time? Imagine the AdSense publishers who’d lose literally hundreds of cents as traffic fell on their sites during the day.
The effects go further than merely financial as well. Imagine the lack of self satisfaction there would be if MySpace and Friends Reunited was blocked from workers and they were no longer given the time to find out if they’re doing better than that horrid bloke who’s name they forgot and sat at the back of the class in primary school. It would be good news for Proxy site webmasters but little good to the UK’s worker’s self-esteem.
Is that not enough for you? Then imagine the horrific damage to the environment caused by the down turn in recycling, people no longer able to list for sale on eBay those DVDs that come on the front of the Daily Mail every day. Imagine the heartache and family fights caused at Christmas because mother had not had time research which iPod Nano was the right one for her precious and ordered the wrong one online. Imagine how depressing life would be without a dozen friend requests to attend too each day. It’s a scary thought…
Now, I’m lucky enough to have been Cyberslacking since 2000. In fact, eBay should send me some shares for all the people I turned on to them way back when and over the years. I know what slacking looks like, and I have to say, if they turned off the internet at lots of public service offices and banned access to such things, there would be an uproar. Well, I say uproar, but to be fair, I mean some actual work would get done.
Let’s face it, nobody likes working, and the internet has been a godsend to get us out of doing any. But look at the bigger picture – these people are putting money back in to the economy with the workplace shopping. That money in turn comes around again to help the people who employ them. Ok, so a few bits of paperwork take a bit longer to get done, but so what? The nation’s economy needs Cyberslackers. If there was a surplus of work to be done, employers would never find the time to make sure their staff could enter the web, let alone complain about them slacking off on it.
So despite the fact three people have lost their jobs, I’m sorry to say I found myself bemused. I can still see the rows of computers back at my old office, the screens shining with rows of eBay and Amazon logos showing that productivity was at an all time high and the public’s money being well spent. Whilst I sympathise for those people, at the same time, that so could have been me. Just as well our bosses had the internet as well, or most of us would have been on our ear.