No, Spying On Your Employees Won't Mean They Waste Less Time

from the not-this-again dept

You know, it had actually been quite some time since the last article we saw hyping up the supposed "threat" of personal surfing at work that was really a thinly-veiled press release from a company selling yet another me too filtering software. It had even reached the point that, maybe, just maybe, people had realized that personal surfing at work isn't the problem. Studies have shown that personal surfing at work is good for employees by allowing an employee to be more balanced and efficient when they were working. Those employees also tend to more than make up the time they spent personal surfing. Yet, here we are again, with a trade magazine barely rewriting a press release from yet another employee monitoring software company with the headline claiming that "Wasting Time Online Could Be A Thing Of The Past."

Of course, none of the previous identical solutions made "wasting time" a thing of the past. The article never even bothers to mention that this is a crowded market with a ton of products. The headline seems to suggest that this is the first such product. Meanwhile, the idea that this will somehow end wasting time is laughable. If people want to take a break from working and do something else, they'll do that one way or the other. If it's not online it'll be a water cooler break or something else. Plus, by constantly telling your employees you don't trust them, you decrease employee morale. Finally, it fails to recognize that work isn't a binary function. Just because you're doing some personal surfing it doesn't mean that work is somehow "lost." That break could allow someone to be much more effective later, allowing them to recharge, or even have ideas percolating in the back of their brain. Every time one of these products comes out with such wild claims plenty of people point this out. Yet why is it that trade publication reporters never bother to ask these kinds of questions? Even more important, why aren't the providers of this kind of software addressing these questions ahead of time (along with explaining how they're different than the 50 other such products)?

Filed Under: employee monitoring
Companies: beaware

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  1. identicon
    Champ, 25 Jul 2007 @ 3:19pm


    I work for a large telecommunications company that has just imposed filters on internet use. It is exceptionally frustrating to have sites made inaccessible due to our CIO's desire to "improve productivity". Unfortunately, these filters also block many useful sites - sites that are essential for gaining an understanding from multiple sources of competitors products and offerings. While they offer to unblock these sites "if you have a valid reason", the processing of these requests not highly prioritised. In a fast paced industry, having to wait 2 weeks to access vital competitive information is crazy - but believe me, fighting the "productivity improvement" argument is impossible!

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