Only Telling One Side Of The Internet At Work Story

from the oh,-come-on... dept

Well, here is yet another article totally overhyping one side of the story about personal use of the internet at work. Reading the article, you can almost see the horror on the face of whoever wrote it, as he describes that (oh no!): “Each year rogue employees search for jobs, make travel arrangements, play games and use office e-mail for personal endeavors. This abuse of Internet privileges is real problem for organizations, with real monetary ramifications and it shows no sign of letting up.” Except that… well, it’s not the full story at all. Studies have shown that employees who do a little personal surfing at work actually tend to be more productive, since they can be more efficient about both getting work and personal tasks done, fitting them in at the best time. Also, as our work environments have turned into always-on-call situations where people are expected to answer phone calls and respond to emails even when away from the office, it seems perfectly reasonable to do some personal stuff at work as well. Besides, plenty of studies have shown that human productivity isn’t always about making sure people are working all the time, but that they’re working at their best when they do work. So, if a small break lets them recharge, they make it up. However, nowhere does this article suggest that’s possible at all. If an employee is getting his or her work done, what’s the problem? If they’re not getting work done, then that’s the issue — not the fact that they happen to surf Amazon to buy a book every once in a while.

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Comments on “Only Telling One Side Of The Internet At Work Story”

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Nonesuch (user link) says:

Lazy management

It’s a heck of a lot easier for managers to play at being spies and monitor employee internet activity, if only to make up an excuse to terminate “for cause” the employees that they want to get rid of; not necessarily the unproductive employees.

In big business, there is constant pressure on IT to buy into the hype about the risks from employee access to sites not related to their job, to read about the virus, Sarbannes, hostile workplace and all of the other “risks” of permitting unlimited access to the Internet, to just buy a filtering product to keep HR and audit happy.

A couple months ago I ran across a new threat — xxxtoolbar, a BHO that installs into MSIE and silently browses various porn sites, without the consent or knowledge of the user. We came damn close to firing a couple of employees whose only crime was getting caught by a typo-squatter…

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