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Online Christmas Shopping Will Hit Productivity

Online Christmas Shopping Will Hit Worker Productivity

December 13 looms as peak day for web buying

Auckland, 11 December– For many employers traditional time off for staff to attend to Christmas shopping may run longer than they had bargained on this year, as workers surf the web searching for gifts from the office PC.

”Overseas and local research shows that a lot of Christmas shopping gets done online and in office time,” says Rodney Martin, Worldwide Chief Operating Officer for the Auckland-based CommSoft Group. “Employers who are conscious of productivity should make sure they know how their staff are spending time on the web.”

In the United States, web retailer BizRate.com has published a survey showing 70 percent of respondents shopped online while at work and predicted online sales will double this year.

“New Zealand trends are likely to be similar,” Mr Martin says. “With the summer holiday, staff will also be interested in travel destinations – and thus tempted to access another popular Internet service.”

Proving the power of the Christmas rush, BizRate.com also identified December 13 as the peak buying day for the year.

In New Zealand, during the 12 months to June 2000, ACNielsen Netwatch* reports that 101,000 people gave their main purpose for accessing the Internet as being for professional or business use only.

Yet even within this same group 25 percent engaged in “general surfing” activity during the four-week survey period in September, and nine percent accessed information on travel.

Other activity for this group included 37 percent accessing the net for information on products and services, and five percent attending to Internet banking.

“Employers lose money through ISP costs, time in wages, and pressure on bandwidth – and very often they have no way of even quantifying how much time is being spent on unauthorised web surfing, “ Mr Martin said.

Products such as CommSoft’s NetMaster software provided easy-to-use reports showing all Internet use within a business.
After installing NetMaster one New Zealand client recently solved a major bandwidth problem by introducing protocols that permitted non-work downloads only during lunch or after hours.

Others customers have unearthed serious cyberbludging. One recent United States survey reported 13 percent of employees spending two hours engaged in unauthorised Internet use each day.

“A product like NetMaster means that the level of use becomes obvious. Obviously many employees need to be on the web. The aim is not to restrict or reduce access, but to provide a tool to help line managers ensure that a business makes the best use of the resource,” Mr Martin says.

*Source: ACNielsen NetWatch 12 Months to June 2000, 12,000 people 10+ years.

About Netmaster
NetMaster tracks all Internet access at work to report usage by employees, costs and time, data downloaded and most visited sites.
It differentiates from other Internet Management software as follows:
 NetMaster is a line manager’s tool, not a technical IT tool. Typically, managers can be trained on its use in 20 minutes.
 NetMaster is “sniffer-based” as opposed to Proxy-Server based and therefore does not interfere with network performance or reliability.
 NetMaster will work with any Ethernet LAN/WAN based network topology and independent of the Internet gateway.

About CommSoft Group Limited
CommSoft Group Limited is an international leader in the development of niche software products for the telecommunications industry.
CommSoft develops and markets leading edge telecommunications software to help small to medium enterprises make better use of their telecommunications equipment through better cost management, increased staff productivity and improved customer service. Its products are bundled with products and services by some of the world's largest telecommunications suppliers.

More information on CommSoft is available on the web at
www.commsoftgroup.com


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