Employees waste more than 81 minutes of work time in personal computer activity on average and 13% squander more than two hours a day on recreational computer activities, according to an old AOL/Salary.com survey.
And, those considered top employees can be the worst offenders.
To minimize all that time lost, software provider Ascentive has launched a "workplace activity management" application called BeAware Corporate Edition. The software aims to help increase employee productivity, cut down on wasted time, and protect company data.
A remote set-up option allows employers to install the software to each employee and track all employee PC activity with live, real-time monitoring of emails, web surfing, chat and program use. Individuals, departments, and the enterprise can view resulting reports.
The system can also notify individuals and groups when a user accesses specific words, Web sites or applications. Ascent offers a stealth mode it says makes the program undetectable.
The software can track employees as they work in the field, at other company offices or on the road. It offers a personal time feature that allows employees to take care of personal business during lunch and other approved breaks. Ascent promises privacy during those times and allows pop-up windows to tell employees how much personal time they have for computer use.
Ascentive President Adam Schran said BeAware can help reward employees for great behavior.
"It's now easier, almost effortless, for bosses to help make their companies more efficient and effective," he said, adding that software has little (1%) impact on network speeds.
It can be deployed to 10,000 employees. The application goes for $89.95 per computer, with discounted rates for five computers or more.
"Our clients have told us that they see unwanted Internet usage by their employees drop as much as 90% almost immediately after BeAware is installed," Schran said in a prepared statement.
Then again, there is always the water cooler.