Spending too much business time on the computer when you’re not at work? You’re not alone.

Small-business owners and managers, already tethered to their computers for long periods, are turning into “mouse potatoes,” increasingly eating and working while on their computers and while online, according to a survey released Tuesday by office supply retailer Staples.

After analyzing the results of its survey of 300-plus small-business managers, Staples coined the term “mouse potato” to characterize the phenomenon of increased computer usage by managers, and called the practice of eating breakfast while computing “deskfast.” The use of computers by business managers is accelerating as the economy continues its meltdown.
“Small businesses are obviously working harder to get through these tough economic times,” said John Giusti, Staples’ VP of small-business marketing, in a statement. Staples said that 62% of the survey respondents agreed they are becoming “mouse potatoes,” and 20% said they are “deskfasting” — eating breakfast while using their computers — in an attempt to maximize their time. Two-thirds of the respondents said they eat and work on their computers at the same time.

The online survey, conducted by Profile Marketing Research for Staples, indicated that small-business owners and business managers were working to adapt to the new challenges presented by the economic stress.

“Even though the current economic climate is challenging,” Staples said, “the majority of those surveyed are confident that they will weather the storm, with 84% stating that they will be in business next year in their current form and three-quarters still believing in the ‘American Dream.’ “

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