A new survey has found that while the Internet has made it easier for employees to take care of personal business while at work, the cost to business is $6.5 billion a year.
According to recruitment agency TMP Worldwide, more than three-quarters of employees engage in Internet banking, book holidays and communicate with friends during core business hours.
More than 5000 respondents were questioned in the survey, which found employees spent a minimum of an hour a week on personal business.
A quarter of those surveyed spent up to three hours paying bills and attending to personal appointments.
TMP marketing director, Fergus Kelly, said it is far more cost-effective for companies to allow employees a personal day per quarter to attend to these activities.
But Kelly also said the bulk of those surveyed compensated by working extra hours without overtime payments.