Employees who bring an MP3 player to work could be costing Australian businesses as much as $60 million a year.
That's the finding of a new study which examined the costs of employee downloads of MP3 files to build music and video collections at work.
The study was undertaken by Melbourne-based Exinda Networks which collated recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and one of the nation's largest private Internet service providers.
Australian businesses, which spend $450 million a year on Internet costs, fork out an estimated $4.9 million a month for employees' music and video files, according to the study.
This is equivalent to one million MP3 files daily and does not include lost productivity costs.
Exinda Networks director Con Nikolouzakis said these files take up a lot of capacity on a computer network slowing them down considerably. "Beware of the employee who comes to work with an MP3 player," he warned.
"They can store up to 40 gigabytes of music, movies and programs and kill your network performance."
Nikolouzakis said network monitoring equipment could save businesses $225 million in Internet costs for the problem which has accelerated in the last 12 to 18 months.
He said the hardware allocates a specific amount of resources to individual users on a computer network, allowing businesses to prioritize important work and stamp out illegal use.