8 September 2009

Should the BBC be encouraging people to surf the net during work time?

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A few years ago, one of my clients told me that an unexpected side effect of moving their head office staff from individual rooms into an open plan arrangement was that their corporate phone bill dropped to about 30% of what it had been previously.

The obvious, and from their point of view rather worrying, reason was that their employees were not longer wasting so much time making private phone calls that might be overheard by people at nearby desks.

What the salary cost of paying staff to make such calls was, I have no idea. But I am intrigued by the question of how much time-wasting on computers at work must be costing companies.

Some of you may already have seen the post a few weeks ago with my calculation that the salary cost of managers attending boring presentations was costing the UK economy £7.8 billion a year (HERE).

Having noticed that the number of visits to this blog falls at weekends and goes back to its higher weekday level every Monday morning, a question I've been Twittering about recently is about the salary cost to organisations of paying staff to surf the internet during work time. So far, no one has come up with an estimate, and perhaps most employers would rather not think about it.

All of which leads me to the rather more specific question of whether the BBC should be using licence payer's money to encourage people to read the their website magazine during work-time - as sen above.