It was less than a month ago that we pointed out the latest fear-mongering story about how evil personal surfing was at work. Just like every other time this kind of story shows up, the study was sponsored (oh, look at that!) by a web filtering company trying to drum up business. This time, though, the company got the added benefit of getting a lawyer who has a column at CNET to include a bunch of stuff about the legal liabilities of personal surfing. The piece, like so many before it, is written in a tone that pretty much buys the entire line of reasoning from the filtering company -- never once noting that they might (just maybe) have a bit of bias coming into this. At least he does note (if only buried in the last paragraph) that there are some benefits to employee morale in letting them surf freely. He doesn't, though, mention other reports that found employees who surf at work tend to more than make it up by doing work while away from the job. It's not just about "morale," but about the fact that the work-life boundaries have been increasingly blurring -- and the majority of that has been work tasks invading "life." Giving people the ability to surf the web at work certainly does have some risks and liabilities, but hiring good workers and trusting them to actually do their jobs, seems like a perfectly reasonable strategy.
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