Office Surfers May Face Wipeout

from the doesn't-solve-the-problem... dept

Companies that create software products that block people from surfing the internet from work have always been good at getting press coverage. The part that amazes me (though, I guess it shouldn’t) is that the press seems to buy what they say without any critical thought. This next article could have been entirely written by one of those companies as it talks about the trend to stop people surfing at work with the assumption that doing so is, obviously, a good thing for everybody (except companies that run the websites people were surfing). They even have this absolutely ridiculous quote from an “analyst” (who didn’t want to be named…) saying, “if you’re looking at a company with an $82 million IT budget, and 10 percent of the network is going to nonwork uses, you’re saving $8 million if you can stop it.” Apparently, this analyst doesn’t understand the difference between fixed and variable costs, or have any clue as to what percentage “bandwidth” is of an IT budget, as he seems to assume it’s 100%. More to the point, however, is that I stand by the claims I’ve made in the past: depending on what your job is, if you can get your work done properly, and still have time to surf the web, who cares? Clearly, if the work you need to do is not getting done, then you should get in trouble for that. But, otherwise, trusting your workers to do the right thing, and letting them rest at points during the day is good for productivity. Having them be entirely focused on work, with no outlest otherwise, is only going to drive them to burnout faster. Besides, in many cases, if workers are goofing off and not working, they’re going to figure out some other way to goof off and not work. Having the web available isn’t the problem. Having unmotivated employees is. Shutting off the web doesn’t solve the problem, it just demotivates employees further, by showing them just how much you distrust them.

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