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U of C study provides profile of Cyberslacker
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Thursday, April 24, 2014 1:07PM MDT
Can a predisposition to procrastination make you more prone to cyberslacking? A new study out the University of Calgary takes a look at the character traits of the modern day goldbrick.
Researchers at the U of C have embarked on a new study to examine the personality traits that make some employees more likely to stray on the Internet, while working from home.
Cyberslackers are defined as those who avoid work and other responsibilities by trolling the web for games and other amusements.
Organizational Psychologist Thomas O'Neill and professors, Laura Hambley and Angelina Bercovich, think cyberslacking can be avoided with proper self-management and by understanding how personality influences work behavior.
"Our goal is to give people feedback about their personality in respect to cyberslacking, to help them better manage themselves when they're working remotely," said O'Neill. "If managers find they have an employee for whom working at home is not a good fit, it lets them know that maybe that person shouldn't be working at home as frequently as someone with a strong fit."
The problem has become more evident over the last few years with rapid advances in computer technology and mobility.
The study took a look at personality traits that could influence cyberslacking and found people predisposed to procrastination are more likely to engage in the activity than say those who have a high level of conscientiousness.
People who ranked low in honesty and agreeableness were also more likely to be led astray.
Researchers say people are also more tempted to cyberslack while working from home because there is no threat of being caught by the boss or co-workers.
"This study is not meant to be a barrier to letting employees work from a distance," said O'Neill,
"We don't want people to feel that if they're screened and have certain personality traits that they'll be prevented from working away from the office. That's not the case at all. What we're trying to do is show people how they can better understand themselves, their habits, and their tendencies in order to be more effective."
O’Neill points out that the trend will be near to impossible to police as more and more companies try to keep office and operating costs down by allowing employees to work from home.