What is Cyberslacking?

Jacob Queen

Cyberslacking is a term used to describe the act of secretly using the Internet for casual fun or personal reasons while at work. People who are cyberslacking may appear to be working to a casual observer, but in actuality, they may be doing anything from surfing pornography to playing games. Some corporate leaders feel that cyberslacking is a serious drain on the productivity of their employees, and as a result, methods have been developed to detect any personal Internet use.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

People have been cyberslacking since the early days of the Internet, but as the efficiency of networking technology has improved, it has generally become more common. Social networking sites were partially responsible for the increase in personal Internet use at work, and access to streaming videos was another major culprit. Over time, it generally became easier for people to access dynamic or social content, and this temptation was difficult for some to resist.

One of the most common activities of people engaged in cyberslacking has been visiting pornographic websites. This activity is particularly frowned upon by many corporate leaders because it can lead to difficult social problems in the workplace. For example, one employee may catch another looking at pornographic content, or one employee may decide to circulate pornographic content to his co-workers via email, which can make some people feel uncomfortable or angry.

Several techniques have been used to curb cyberslacking. Most of these are software-based solutions that monitor employees' computers. Many of the software packages also allow the employer to blacklist certain websites so that employees can’t use them at all. Once an worker is caught, they will generally be disciplined in some way, or they may possibly be fired. Different companies have applied varying levels of leniency to the issue, with some firing people constantly, while others are much more forgiving.

Many people who engage in cyberslacking don’t feel that they are cheating their employers, and some think the heavy-handed methods used by managers to curb the activity are actually unfair invasions of privacy. Some of them say that they actually get more done because the ability to use the Internet gives them a great opportunity to refresh their minds. Others may have jobs that don’t require constant activity, and they feel that they can cyberslack during natural downtime without technically hurting the company. Some also claim that they’ve always taken small breaks during a normal day, and they feel that cyberslacking isn’t actually adding any additional downtime.

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