Three-quarters of companies monitor employees' website connections in large part due to concern about inappropriate Internet surfing, according to a 2005 survey by the American Management Association (AMA). More than half retain and review messages. Most also have policies regarding personal e-mail use, and more than a quarter have fired workers for misusing the Internet. Thirty-six percent track content, keystrokes and time spent at the keyboard.

Sixty-five percent of companies use software to block certain websites, a 27% increase since 2001, according to the AMA.

Eighty-seven percent of employees surf non-work-related websites while at work, according to a survey by Vault.com. More than half engage in personal website surfing every day.

Employers realize the need to monitor to avoid abuse, says Wally Bock, of Greensborough, N.C, author of the soon-to-be-released Performance Talk, which deals with performance issues. But smart companies, he says, are handling those who abuse the Internet on a one-on-one basis. Limiting all personal use, he says, goes too far.

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