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Taking a sneaky mooch around the web while the boss ain't looking is becoming increasingly popular. and eBay is the most popular destination for UK office workers on the skive.

Four in ten admit that trawling through eBay is the most popular site of all for a bit of time-killing while at work, followed by those visiting sites dabbling in sports, holidays and property.

The survey of more than 600 employers and employees by recruitment outfit Portfolio Payroll and employment law firm Peninsula found that workers are using the internet for personal use more than ever before.

Said Danny Done, MD of Portfolio Payroll: "The biggest problem [over the last couple of months] has been employees using eBay to sell and buy cheaply. Although employers must be careful to not monitor employees to the point where they feel victimised or targeted...it is up to the employer to ensure that any monitoring which is to be introduced into the workplace must be sensitively implemented and that all employees are aware of the reasons why these changes are to be brought about."

Peninsula has a bit of a thing about the net and shirking workers. In July, it published research which found that British office workers are spending almost half their day surfing the net and sending emails. And the problem is getting worse, with workers spending, on average, three hours a day online, compared to two hours in 2003.

Peninsula reckons this "frivolous employee behaviour" is having a "serious negative effect on firms' productivity". ®

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