Study: YouTube watching excessive at work, companies looking to curtail

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Study: YouTube watching excessive at work, companies looking to curtail

New York (NY) – It happens all over the country. Individuals take a quick break from their normal work duties to surf the web and check out a couple YouTube videos, or send a message on Facebook. But is this trend causing a backlash for employers? Companies have long frowned on the time required for workers to step outside for a smoke. And now they don’t even have to step outside to waste much more time. Companies are beginning to seek out ways to respond.

Nielsen Online has released a new report showing the majority of online videos in the U.S. are watched during working hours, between 9am and 5pm throughout the work week. It is over this time period 65% of all online viewers watch their favorite online videos. On the weekends during the same time, it’s only 51%. Weeknights between 11pm and 6am, online videos have the fewest number of viewers.

Neilsen’s online video ratings for October showed YouTube is in the lead with 82 million unique users totaling 5 billion streams for the month. Since September, Hulu has seen the greatest increase in views making them the third-largest streaming video website (behind YouTube and Google Video, both owned by Google, Inc.).

These daytime numbers prove that employers may have something to worry about. On a personal note, I work from my home office and can attest to being distracted between the hours of 9am and 5pm. It’s hard not to watch the funny videos sent to me via friends. I can also personally attest to turning off my computer, and ending my browsing when its dinner time.

This might be the spawn of a whole new breed of software.

An Annapolis Maryland firm, eTelemetry, has designed a product that enables companies to limit employee access to websites, tailoring what each employee can view and surf.

There are some instances when blocking sites for an entire company might be a great idea. For example, on a city or government server a secretary might not need to surf Myspace and Facebook, while a police officer might need access to those sites while conducting an investigation. Restricting the entire servers’ access, in this case, would be a negative for the officer, though it might make the secretary more productive.

Streaming video puts 100 times more stress on a network than simply sending e-mail or checking a webpage. The software being developed by eTelemetry, called Metron 2.0, will allow companies to allot bandwidth to those who truly need it. The officer would get his access, the secretary’s boss would get her productivity.

Software like this would also cut costs dramatically for companies. No longer would we be paying for employee slacking due to excessive use of the web. Now we’ll be paying them to sit around the water cooler complaining about how they used to be able to access their favorite site.