Preventing Your Employees From Watching Videos Won't Prevent Them From Procrastinating

from the it'll-just-annoy-them dept

We've been saying for years that the notion that employee web surfing at work constitutes "lost profits" is nonsense. There is an infinite number of ways employees can waste time at work, from chatting with coworkers, reading magazines, or even taking a nap. Monitoring and restricting web surfing isn't likely to make employees procrastinate less, it'll just make them procrastinate in ways that are harder to monitor, and annoy them in the process. The Wall Street Journal has the latest example of surfing-at-work hysteria. Apparently the latest crisis is the time-wasting potential of Internet video sites. The funny thing about the article is that it inadvertently does a pretty good job of illustrating why blocking web-based video isn't a very good plan. One employee actually looked at clients' videos as part of his job, so he had to waste his own and the IT department's time seeking an exception every time he had a video he needed to watch in order to do his job. In an even more ridiculous case, an office had a mass shooting occur in a nearby mall, and all of the employees in the office apparently spent time complaining to the boss for permission to watch the news about it. Here, it was clear that the employees were already sitting around reading stories about the shooting, so they obviously weren't getting much work done. Yet for some reason the boss still seems proud of himself for preventing his employees from watching videos of the event. The article also cites bandwidth limitations as a reason for blocking online videos, but that seems like overkill. If upgrading bandwidth isn't an option (and bandwidth is getting cheaper every year) it seems like a much more straightforward approach would be to simply monitor total bandwidth consumption and warn the heaviest users to keep their consumption down. That would keep the network humming without treating employees like they're children.

Filed Under: employees, employers, procrastination, productivity, videos


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  1. identicon
    Network Admin, 6 Mar 2008 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: bandwith

    But why even both with it(not saying we didn't try)? All the hand holding and writing people up did not solve the bandwidth issue, eliminating the cause (the now blocked sites) did.

    We talked too, disciplined and even fired a guy.

    Since implementing the new system we no longer have issues and people have gotten over not being able to get on myspace.

    I also would be willing to bet that since then productivity in data entry (the worst of the offenders) has increased.

    I have no metrics to back this up with but(no numbers on the performance of the employees) that department used to use almost 60-70% of the bandwidth in a month. Now they are at the bottom of my utilization logs.

    Less time on myspace = more time working period.

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