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Seeking solace in the web? [Work] [Times of India]
[April 05, 2014]

Seeking solace in the web? [Work] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A survey conducted in the US found that employees who feel unhappy and underpaid spend more time surfing the internet at work. Is it any different here? Bored workers, according to a survey, squander approximately 1.7 hours of an eight-hour working day (assuming they have Saturday and Sunday off) on the internet for personal use. However, the difference is, in India, being bored or underpaid isn't necessarily an excuse to kill time on social networking websites during office hours.

Finance executive Shawn Rodricks browses the internet for two-three hours a day. "The internet is disabled on my computer during the hours the stock market is trading. But there are times when I just need to take a break from number crunching. So I use my phablet for that to check some other news," he says. "Some friends still send emails with forwards. Some of them are funny, some are insightful. That eases stress from the workday especially when there's heavy trading," says Shane.

Spa manager Saira Tambawala agrees that the time she spends online for non-work related surfing is based on the workload. "I usually surf for an hour a day, either during my lunch break or tea break. I visit social networking sites sometimes, or just use its chat application to check in on friends. And during a slow day at the spa, there really isn't much else to do after completing other tasks and killing time while waiting for clients to visit," she says.

HR departments are in the know about this employee downtime. A human resources executive at a BPO, Devika Chandani, says that in today's internet age, being underpaid or unhappy isn't something that drives people to surf. "There are industries where information comes in via non-traditional sources. In creative fields, being online can spark ideas and that is beneficial to the company," she reasons.

However, other industries like the banking sector offer web access only to senior levels. Banker Shyam Talreja works in an organisation where the net is not accessible to all employees. "I have access to the net at the office and surf purely for work. It's really useful because when the mail server is down, I log in to my personal ID for official correspondence and keep working. Most banks don't allow any net access. The previous bank I worked in had an internet facility relevant only to financial services," he says. "According to company policy, we are allowed to surf for any project-related activity during work hours and log on to restricted private sites such as those related to banking and knowledge-sharing before and after office hours or during the lunch break," adds Talreja.

Cancer surgeon Rajay Kumar however, says that in the medical domain, surgeons don't have any such restriction. "We operate all day on cancer patients and often have to keep at it well into the night on patients with advanced stages of disease. When I get back to my room, I like to chill out by streaming some movies online or simply surfing the web about anything at all. It takes my mind off the blood and seriousness of the operating theatre. It doesn't matter, and work doesn't get affected," says Kumar.

(c) 2014 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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