Why Spy? Let 'Em Surf!

from the finally! dept

If you’ve read Techdirt long enough, you’ve seen me complain about study after study that talks about how much employees surf the web during the day. These studies are always sponsored by a company that sells web monitoring software, and the articles always take it as fact that people surfing at work is a bad thing. Every time one of these studies pops up, I argue that it’s the web monitoring that is actually bad for business. There are a few exceptions, but for many professions, letting people take a few minutes off here and there to get stuff done or blow off steam is probably much better for the long term productivity. Here’s the first real article I’ve seen in a major publication agreeing with the standpoint and saying that there are rewards for trusting your employees. As long as they get their work done, who cares if they check sports scores or play a game during the day? The article points out that there’s a self-fulfilling prophecy effect – and if you show workers you don’t trust them, they’re more likely to be untrustworthy (and unhappy).

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Comments on “Why Spy? Let 'Em Surf!”

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Squtos (user link) says:

Well! It does have some use.

While I agree spying on users and reprimanding them for spending 5 minuets every few hours to hit refresh on their yahoo inbox isn’t productive the software has use. We use it at my office and although the logs aren’t checked on a regular basis, they are checked when a problem arises. Example: My office (a law firm) subscribes to a legal website that costs lots of money. One of the employees used company time and accessed databases to the tune of 7000. We suspected this person researched personal (or side work) matters since we don’t deal with motor vehicle and people searches. When we got the bill all the attorneys were asked if they accidentally went into these databases or used them. When no reply was found I was charged with firing up our software (unused for over a year I might add) and find out who went to the site on the dates the bills were charged.

I found the information within minuets and I gave the Managing Parnter the name. I don’t know what happened after that. She is still around.

Yea! I could have spent time digging up firewall logs but this was a sure quick way to do it.

Anyway I’m not disagreeing with you, I don’t like to spy but there are some good uses for software like this.

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