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Internet sites and business issues relevant to Canadian processors and moldmakers (August 01, 2001)

Getting personal at workAs you're looking for ways to tighten your belt during this economic slowdown, take a hard look at Internet use at your company. A survey last year by Angus Reid Group found th...


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August 1, 2001 by Cindy Macdonald

Getting personal at work

As you’re looking for ways to tighten your belt during this economic slowdown, take a hard look at Internet use at your company. A survey last year by Angus Reid Group found that in the U.S. workforce, on average, 31 percent of time spent on-line at the office is not work related. This works against the employer in two ways: it decreases productivity because workers are performing non-work related tasks during company time; and it raises your Internet usage costs.

The Angus Reid survey revealed that of those conducting personal affairs on the Internet while at work, three-quarters check news or sports headlines; 67 percent do comparison shopping; 55 percent write or receive personal e-mail; 49 percent check the stock market; 22 percent play games on-line; and 11 percent visit adult sites. I confess, I’ve done some of those things.

How do you combat this problem? I think setting guidelines for acceptable use would be the first step. Coupled with that, there are monitoring and filtering software packages that will allow you to judge the scope of your problem and enforce your acceptable use policy if necessary. Be sure the penalties for non-compliance are clearly spelled out in your policy.

A company called SurfControl (1), which produces filtering products, offers a free guide to developing your company’s Internet access policy.

As for filtering software, the choices are numerous. I found quite a few listed in Google’s Web Directory (2). Follow the categories Computers>Software>Internet and then choose Monitoring or Client>Filtering. Many were developed for at-home or in-school use to keep children from straying into unsavory territory, so bear in mind the product’s relevance for corporate monitoring when making a decision.

There may be some more creative ways to combat the problem as well. If you had news and sports on your corporate site, then employees would be self-monitoring the corporate site when they log on to read the headlines. Perhaps one PC could be dedicated to personal surfing (in the lunch room) to encourage employees to do their personal business during breaks or outside of work hours.

(1) www.surfcontrol.com/resources/business/acceptable_use_policy/

(2) www.google.com

Global industry, global news

Omnexus (3) has launched a daily news service delivered by e-mail. It will cover industry events, plant expansions, materials and equipment, process technology and design advancements. Omnexus also has an extensive list of news for viewing on the site. The Society of Plastics Engineers has also begun an on-line news service (4). SPE will use NetContent Inc.’s ePowerPublisher (5) technology to make industry news available on SPE’s myplasticsinfo.com Web site. The service will offer SPE’s 31,000 members access to published articles from 3000 publications and wire services, and an option to receive an e-mail newsletter. The NetContent agreeement enables SPE to publish data from NetContent’s database of news and information, and to offer an “alert” service to all Web site visitors.

(3) www.omnexus.com

(4) www.myplasticsinfo.com

(5) www.netcontentinc.com

Briefly

Canadian Plastics now has “help wanted” ads and resumes posted in the classifieds section of www.canplastics.com. There’s no charge to post or view resumes, and a recruitment ad is only $95 for a two-week period. Contact Mark Larcher at 416-442-2137 or mlarcher@corporate.southam.ca.

Plastic Design Library’s “Chemical Resistance of Plastics and Elastomers” database is now on-line at www.knovel.com. The site has a 75,000-page plastics and rubbers subject area.