Salary Survey Extra: Everybody's goin' surfing
Posted on
February 15, 2018

Salary Survey Extra is a series of dispatches that give added insight into the findings of our annual Salary Survey. These posts contain previously unpublished Salary Survey data.

How much time do you spend idly surfing the web while at work?

In 2018, almost every individual who works in any sort of office setting — and probably quite a few individuals who don’t — has access to an internet-connected desktop or laptop computer. Quite a few of those people are probably seated at a desk for most, if not all, of their “at work” hours in any given day.

Some employers are rigorous about limiting general access to the web in all its highly distracting glory. It’s not always possible to restrict access, however, in a way that doesn’t prevent people from doing their jobs. Hence, many (if not most) modern employees have free rein to come and go as they please on the internet, surfing here and there more or less at will.

Studies, generally based on confidential self-reporting by workplace computer users, have consistently shown the many, if not most workers abuse the privilege. To what extent workers engage in casual surfing on company time depends on who you ask. Most studies estimate, however, that the average worker flushes somewhere between one and three hours per day down the wireless commode.

It being the case that most certified IT professionals are highly likely to hold a job that involves both a) some sort of input/output device, and b) some sort of connection to the internet, we decided to ask the question ourselves. How much on-the-job time do you spending idly shifting gears while cruising down the information superhighway?

Here’s what we learned:

Question: How much time do you spend at work idly (i.e., not to serve any work-related purpose) surfing the web?

15 or 20 minutes per day — 33.4 percent
An hour or so per day — 26.2 percent
I never idly surf on company time. — 11.8 percent
A couple of hours per day — 8 percent
A couple of hours per week — 7.4 percent
An hour or so per week — 6.9 percent
15 or 20 minutes per week — 5.5 percent
I don’t have access to the internet while at work. — 0.9 percent

A couple of things jump out. For instance, fewer than 1 percent of respondents don’t have access to the internet while at work. We’re talking about a body of certified IT professionals, of course, but it still underlines an important point about the modern workplace: In a random global sample of thousands of modern workers, more than 99 percent have access to the internet while at work.

More than half of those surveyed — just a few ticks fewer than 60 percent — don’t spend very much time engaged in idle surfing. A third of all respondents limit their non-work surfing to 15 or 20 minutes per day (or at least say that they do). And nearly as many (26.2 percent of all respondents) limit non-productive surfing to about an hour per day.

Beyond that, you have quite a large group, nearly a third of all respondents, who are even less wasteful. Some (11.8 percent of respondents) don’t do any idle surfing at all. And some keep it to a minimal weekly figure: a couple of hours per week (7.4 percent of respondents), a hour or so per week (6.9 percent), or even just 15 or 20 minutes per week (5.5 percent).

The real scamps are the 8 percent of respondents who admit to spending a couple of hours per day idly surfing. Maybe all those guys are self-employed?

About the Author

Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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