25 May 2010 #Employment
The version of Pac-Man added by Google to celebrate the 30th birthday of the game, cost employers almost five million hours of work time and $120 million, suggests a study by software firm Rescue Time.
The game was added as a playable logo on Google`s home page on 21 May 2010.
Rescue Time produces time-tracking software which monitors the internet activity of workers.
On a typical day Rescue Time estimate that most people conduct about 22 searches on the Google page, each one lasting about 11 seconds. Putting Pac-Man on the page increased the time spent by workers on the Google site (usually 22 searches of 11 seconds each) by an average of about 36 seconds per search. Based on an average figure of 504 million Google users per day this represents an increase of 4.8 million hours and around $120 million.
In order to deter workers from spending their working time playing online games such as Pac-Man, employers should ensure they have clear policies regarding computer and internet usage. It should also specify in company disciplinary policies that inappropriate usage of the internet may be classed as gross misconduct and potentially result in dismissal (although the circumstances of each case should of course be considered by the disciplinary officers - see previous blog "when is gross misconduct not gross misconduct".
Employment Buddy has a detailed Email and Internet Policy available free to full subscribers.