Remember when employee slacking meant long conversations at the water cooler and frequent smoke breaks? Those were simpler times. Some studies suggest that digital distractions offer a whole new, more time-consuming and effective method of slacking in the modern workplace. But how damaging are such behaviors? Should they be stamped out entirely or maybe even permitted?
HR Daily Advisor: Has employee slacking increased recently? If so, why do you think that is?
Kanouse: I do think that employees are slacking off more at work than they have in the past. There are a couple of key reasons for that: 1) There is increased use of personal mobile devices at work. A recent studyindicated that the average employee is spending about 5 hours a week on his or her cellphone at work on tasks that are not work-related. 2) Related to the increased use and prevalence of cell phones, employees are “always on” in a way they never have been before. Because employees are checking work e-mail on their phone at 9:00 p.m., they don’t feel quite as guilty checking personal e-mail at 2:00 in the afternoon.