Drunkenness, Porn Threaten UK Business

February 9, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Email | Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment

Coming to work intoxicated or hung over, watching porn in the office and sending misdirected and inappropriate emails to co-workers and clients are just three of the things office workers in the UK do to compromise their employers’ security and reputation, according to a survey of British office workers from Proofpoint.

As the lines continue to blur between work and home life, these irresponsible behaviors and others, Proofpoint said, can seriously compromise company security and must not be taken lightly by management.

Among survey findings:


  • More than half (56%) of UK workers admit to drinking alcohol during their work lunch breaks.
  • 31% say they have cancelled or failed to show up for a meeting because they were at the pub.
  • 59% admit to having been ill at work because of a hangover.
  • 28% say they have fallen asleep at their desk.
  • 62% have had an affair with a co-worker.

The research also reveals that staff can be similarly dangerous with workplace technology. Proofpoint points to the fact that the vast majority of security breaches and data losses are the result of employees acting irresponsibly:


  • 33% of staff admit to having watched pornography on their office computer, though only 7% have been caught doing so.
  • 54% of staff have hit ‘reply-all’ on a company-wide email when their response was not ‘safe for work.’
  • 25% mistakenly emailed a colleague with private or suggestive comments intended for a lover.
  • 8% have replied to spam emails.

“A real crossover in the digital realm between personal and professional lives means staff are increasingly relaxed in their use of workplace email and internet,” said David Stanley, UK managing director at Proofpoint. “Working longer hours and therefore using these technologies more to stay in touch with friends and family can only heighten the risk.”

Executive fears about employee data leaks is also a concern among executives in the US, who rate such breaches high on the list of online threats.

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