More and more companies are restricting their employees’ Internet access on the grounds that it’s bad for productivity, despite having opened up markets for many of them. However, at least four out of every ten workers questioned in a recent survey confessed that they use the net during their working hours for personal reasons, such as answering and sending e-mails, consulting bank accounts, searching for the best holiday bargains, downloading information that has nothing to do with their jobs, and even looking for better-paid or more interesting work. Employers said it was a more subtle waste of time than openly chatting with co-workers or taking long breakfast and lunch breaks. Now they are introducing filters that block specific web pages or installing devices that show all the pages visited by the worker. Overseeing e-mails is more complicated because it raises questions of the employee’s right to privacy and the employer’s right to impede the improper use of technology. So far only 10% of Spanish companies have warned their workers about improper use of the Net and only 3% have dismissed a worker for that reason.


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