Personal emailing at work costs £10bn

Time 2:19 pm, February 20, 2008

STAFF personal use of workplace communications equipment is costing UK employers as much as £10 billion per year according to a new survey.

The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF) is advising motor sector business to put clear rules in place on usage in light of the revelation.

A survey by HR body Croner poll has revealed that 37 per cent of employees use workplace communications equipment to pursue romantic relationships during office hours.

Of the total, 22 per cent used email, and 21 per cent used the phone. 18 per cent used personal email accounts accessed during office hours, while 11 per cent used social networking sites. Six per cent used mobile phones.

39 per cent of men admitted to contacting loved ones at least on a daily basis compared with 28 per cent of women. Seven per cent of men admitted to hourly contact, compared to just one per cent of women.

According to RMIF Chairman Alec Murray, businesses should make sure employees understand company policies on workplace equipment usage, and put clear rules in place if they do not have them already.

‘Most employers allow staff to make the odd personal call or send a few emails during the day within reason, but they must set clear boundaries.

‘Staff need to understand what is and isn’t seen as acceptable personal use of company equipment, and what the consequences are of stepping outside these boundaries.’

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