Cyberslacking is a term that is used to describe the behavior of employees using their companies’ Internet for personal needs during working hours (Lim & Chen, 2012). This issue is among the most widespread and unethical of workplace behaviors. At my workplace, I have encountered an incident that I think is a case of ethically questionable behavior called cyberslacking.
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Description of the Event
One of the employees, a young man, systematically checks his Facebook account and surfs the net when he should work. Moreover, he always visits suspicious websites and downloads files and programs. After receiving a comment on that from a leader, he did not change his behavior and continued to go online. I had the impression he was not even trying to understand why he was given the comment and why his behavior is considered to be ethically questionable.
To figure out why checking a Facebook account becomes an ethical issue, the possible consequences of cyberslacking need to be addressed. First, this is an unproductive use of working time. Second, going online distracts employees from further focusing on their work. Third, cyberslacking endangers the security of the company’s network. It has to be mentioned that most of the time, employees are required to do the kind of job which does not depend on a profound knowledge of personal computers and the Internet. Very often, these employees download and install viruses and malware that slow down computers. What is more, hackers get access to the files of the company. Repairing these computers takes time and money. In fact, all of these issues lead to financial problems for the organization.
How to Prevent Cyberslacking
Today, cyberslacking is a critical problem for companies all over the world. To prevent losses due to cyberslacking, measures should be taken. By now, the most common way to reduce cyberslacking is just blocking access to several websites such as Facebook or Twitter. However, this does not help to avoid viruses and malware. Among possibly beneficial and helpful ways to cope with cyberslacking, monitoring software takes a special place. Despite the best will in the world, it is very hard and almost impossible for a human to control the online activities of each employee. That is why it has to be done remotely with the help of monitoring software. This software allows employers to see the history of every computer, including websites, visits, documents created, and applications used. One of the most popular monitoring software products is Net Orbit—an application created to help employers.
Even though it is not possible to block all of the potentially malicious web pages, it would be wise to block at least the most common sites. The most common potentially harmful websites usually are sites with adult content, social networks and email services, and gambling websites (Lim & Chen, 2012). Net Orbit can be used to prohibit access to particular web pages for particular employees. Also, it would be profitable to deny access to the system rights because some of the cyberslackers can even try to install video games on work computers.
Although there are a lot of ways to control and restrict the online activity of employees, there is a method that will make employees refuse cyberslacking. This approach requires a strong leader who will be a driving force. The leader will need to perform a critical behavior focused on ethical values. Also, the leader will need to ingratiate him or herself to employees. After it, the leader’s primary objective is to encourage workers’ ethical values and behavior. Employees will respond to such an approach. One more measure the leader can take is to motivate the staff by the introduction of the rewards for “the most ethical” workers. Eradicating cyberslacking in the short term may be hard. However, the leaders will want to cut down the company’s losses as soon as possible. In this case, there is one trick that can be helpful. A leader can allow employees to have a short break when it is necessary. But this break must be spent outside of the workplace. For example, offices can be equipped with break rooms or sports training rooms.
At my workplace, I have encountered an incident that I think is a case of ethically questionable behavior called cyberslacking. Cyberslacking is unethical. It causes harm to the organization and very often leads to serious financial losses. Sometimes people harm companies, not purposely. They do not understand how their actions may affect the company and lead to serious consequences such as infected and slow computers and a data breach. It takes some time to repair the computer, and while it is not working, the company loses money. That is why they have to be informed about such things as cyberslacking. It causes not only inappropriate use of working hours but also it may cause harm system computers and endanger confidential information. To prevent cyberslacking, companies and leaders must take measures to manage employees’ online activity and upholding the ethical qualities within the organization.
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Lim, V. K., & Chen, D. J. (2012). Cyberloafing at the workplace: Gain or drain on work? Behaviour & Information Technology, 31(4), 343-353.