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Internet misuse costs corporate America more than $63 billion per year in lost productivity...says a report out today.

This fantastic figure, which works out at a cost of around $2,000 in lost US man hours every second, claims the cash is being poured down the toilet by staff surfing for entertainment, shopping and porn while at work.

"Sixty-three billion dollars in lost productivity is actually a conservative number when you factor bandwidth loss, storage costs and legal liabilities associated with free and open Internet use in the workplace," said Websense marketing VP Andy Meyer.

Well indeed, and Websense would much rather corporate America spend this money on ways of controlling staff Net use - i.e. by buying its products.

It has come up with software that lets bosses allocate blocks of time when employees are free to surf anywhere on the Net, with only limited access available for the rest of the working day.

For those mystified as to how Websense came up with the whopping $63 billion figure, here's how the release says they did it:

More than 57 million workers in US have Net access (Dataquest figures), but 40 per cent of all Internet use is non-work related. Take the average US salary (from most recent US Census) and assume that surfers at work get away with one hour of non-work related surfing per week.

But before corporate America rushes off to spend its cash on restricting employee cyber access, it should remember that there has always been 'wasted' time in the office - even before the days of the Internet.

Stopping staff having a quick surf around the organic veg section of Sainsbury's Web site will probably only result in more chatting around the company coffee machine or extended loo breaks. ®

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