Study: Work Web Surfers Also Do Homework

February 5, 2003 ( - Office Web surfers may fritter away work time, but they tend to compensate by working from home during off hours.

The National Technology Readiness Survey found that people with Web access at home and at work spend an average of 3.7 hours per week surfing for personal use at work, according to a report on CNET But they also spend more time, 5.9 hours per week, logging on from home so they can work.

The study also found that shopping activity fell among those who surfed at work compared with 2001, a trend researchers blamed on the economy. Only 48% bought an item costing less than $100 from work, compared with 53% the year before. Fewer people also booked travel online in 2002.

Activities on the rise among work surfers included:

  • paying bills online
  • checking utility accounts
  • conducting transactions with government Web sites.

The study comes as more and more employers are cracking down on personal Web surfing. Some companies recently have started blocking dating sites, gaming sites and instant messaging services, fearing that such activities are sapping corporate bandwidth and diverting attention from work.

The survey, conducted by the University of Maryland Robert Smith School of Business along with marketing company Rockbridge Associates, surveyed 501 people in December 2002.