4 Things You Should Never Google Search at Work

Google is a great resource for conducting research and finding quick answers to questions that may come up during your daily or weekly team meetings. However, caution should be exercised when conducting Google searches at work. Irresponsible Google searching while at the office could come back to bite you. A recent Salary.com survey found that roughly 89% of workers are wasting time at work. Approximately 24% of survey respondents said they waste the most time on Google. If you hope to stay employed, you’ll want to train your fingers to behave. Here are some things you should never search for on Google while you’re on the clock.

1. Porn

Man at desk looking at computer

Man on computer | iStock

Don’t even think about it. Even if it’s a slow day at work and very few of your co-workers are in the office that day, restrain yourself from searching for your favorite porn. Despite the fact most companies have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to porn, watching porn during work time is more common than you may think. A recent survey found roughly 51% of men ages 18 to 30 admit to watching porn at work within the last three months. One-third of women in this age group viewed porn within the last three months.

Have some respect for your employer and wait until you get home if you must partake in this activity. It’s not only unprofessional but also puts you at risk for immediate dismissal. In addition, porn searches could result in malware being downloaded onto your computer, potentially endangering your employer’s sensitive information. “Pornography, or any sexually explicit material, raises issues of professionalism, productivity, and information security, damaging your company’s reputation and profitability. Further, it is toxic to the kind of healthy, diverse, creative, safe, and productive environment you want to develop in your company,” said Brad Farris, small business adviser and managing editor for EnMast, an educational website for business owners.

2. Retail sites

Man shopping online with credit card

Man shopping online | Source: iStock

Shop for new gear on your own time. You may be tempted to multitask so you can maximize your time when you get home, but you shouldn’t be shopping for a new clothes or tech toys while finishing up a company report. Half of American workers are shopping online during work hours, particularly during holidays, according to a CareerBuilder survey. Roughly 42% of employees are trying to hide their shopping by making purchases on their smartphones. Your employer is paying you to focus solely on your work during work hours. When you shop or goof off you’re stealing company time—and if you’re caught chances are your employer won’t let it slide. The CareerBuilder survey found 28% of employers have fired an employee for shopping during work time and 18% have fired an employee for an inappropriate social media post.

3. Social media

Unless you use social media for your job, avoid spending your free time on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social site you’re tempted to visit. “I’d encourage everyone to stay off Facebook during the day (unless you actually need it for your job). Check your email, sure, take a look at the news. But Facebook is purely social and harder to defend as a reasonable workday distraction (and I’m talking about defending it to yourself, not even to a manager),” said Alison Green, founder of career site Ask a Manager.

4. TV shows and movies

A Harris Interactive poll found roughly 64% of Americans watch online videos at work; about 9% watch television shows, and 4% are actually bold enough to watch full length feature films. We know you want to get caught up on your favorite shows and see the latest movie everyone has been ranting about, but work isn’t the right time for that. Save your media binge for the weekend. You’ll be more relaxed and you won’t have to worry about being written up. Watching television or movies during work could result in decreased productivity, according to Dr. Murray Feingold. And if you happen to use dual screens for your TV and movie watching, you’ll be even less likely to get quality work done. He mentioned a study that found people who work on a computer while watching TV switch their eyes between the two screens once every 14 seconds.

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