1 in 2 Singapore firms monitor if employees shop online: survey

Half the companies in Singapore may be monitoring their employees internet use at work for excessive personal use, a survey by recruitment firm Robert Half has found. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Half the companies in Singapore may be monitoring their employees internet use at work for excessive personal use, a survey by recruitment firm Robert Half has found. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Half the companies in Singapore may be monitoring their employees internet use at work for excessive personal use, a survey by recruitment firm Robert Half has found.

Some 52 per cent of the 75 chief technology officers and chief information officers surveyed in Singapore reported doing this, while one in three block access to some online shopping sites, according to the survey results released on Thursday.

The survey, conducted in the middle of this year, also found that Singapore employees spend 9.3 per cent of their online activity on websites not related to work, such as doing online shopping, looking up travel sites or checking social media.

This is less than Hong Kong and Japanese employees, who respectively spend 13.2 per cent and 14.6 per cent of their time online on personal sites.

Employees at large firms with over 1,000 employees spend the least time - just 6.3 per cent of their online activity - surfing the web during work. But at the same time, large firms are more likely to block access to online shopping sites, with 56 per cent of the Singapore respondents reporting they do so.

Robert Half Singapore's managing director Stella Tang said in a release: "Larger firms tend to have more controls in place as they have more resources in their IT departments to establish policies and monitor employee activity."

"An employee's personal activities need to be weighed against the contribution an employ makes to the company," she added. "If an employee is performing above expectations, few employers will worry about them spending a bit of extra time getting their holiday sorted or buying a present for their family."