Small businesses in the UK are losing almost £1.5bn a year through employees wasting time on the internet.
A survey by Cranfield School of Management found that non work-related email and web surfing means that 30 per cent of the companies questioned were losing more than a day's work per employee per week.
The findings suggested that companies which comprehensively tackle this time wasting could see profits jump by as much as 15 per cent.
Cranfield said that few other forms of employee time-wasting, such as persistent lateness, had the potential to do as much harm as the abuse of email and net access.
According to the survey, 61 per cent of small businesses lose two hours per week, 30 per cent lose up to 10 hours per week and nine per cent have no idea how much time is wasted.
The BBC reported that companies concentrate on stopping people looking at pornographic websites, yet did little to stop them contacting job agencies or sending information to competitors.
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