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British workers are more likely to be disciplined for misusing the Net at work than their European colleagues according to a survey published today.

The Web@Work Survey 2001 reveals that British employers are five times more likely to take disciplinary action than Italian employers - and two-and-a-half times more likely to take action than their French or German counterparts.

Researchers found that accessing pornography at work was not the only pastime of workers who waste three hours a week accessing the Net for their own pleasure.

Booking a holiday (52 per cent), pursuing educational interests (42 per cent), researching a hobby (41 per cent), shopping(28 per cent) - the list goes on - also ranked highly.

Other interesting nuggets include news that more than half of all companies across Europe are doing nothing to address Net misuse by employees while almost two thirds of workers believe it's acceptable to have the Net managed at work.

The Web@Work Survey 2001, conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres and commissioned by Websense a company that...you guessed it...specialises in software that snoops on employees' use of the Net.

Indeed, last September Websense issued a press release in which it described the "non-business related use of the Internet during work time" - the very issue described in the Web@Work Survey - as "cyberslacking".

It warned that a small company that provides open Internet access to its employees could expect to lose up to £50,000 a year in lost productivity.

Bigger companies, it claimed, could lose tens of millions of pounds in time misspent.

And it also claimed that workers in the UK who accessed the Big Brother Web site last summer were costing UK Plc £1.4 million a week in lost productivity alone. ®

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