Time For IT Guys To Unshackle Corporate Computers

from the can't-do-that dept

This one ought to infuriate some of the IT folks, but Farhad Manjoo, over at Slate, is making the case for why corporate IT folks should give up trying to control everyone's computers. He says it's silly for them to dictate which apps you can and cannot use, what websites you can and cannot visit and what mobile devices you can and cannot use. He argues that doing so only restricts employees from actually doing useful and innovative stuff and also can make employees significantly less productive.

The response from IT folks will always be about the cost of maintaining all of this -- noting (perhaps correctly) that any time there are any problems, people will call up IT folks who will have to try to service all sorts of things, rather than having a standard list. And, of course, they'll say that users are often dumb, and prone to doing things that put computers and networks at risk. Thus, locking stuff down isn't only cost effective, but it's prudent to protect the company.

In the end, though, if that prevents important work from getting done (or done quickly), that seems like a problem. In the past, we've pointed out study after study after study suggesting that those who are actually allowed to do personal surfing at work are happier and more productive. Manjoo makes that point as well, mentioning recent studies that have shown the same thing and suggesting that companies that trust their workers on these sorts of things tend to get much more out of those employees.

Filed Under: it, limitations, personal surfing, security


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  1. identicon
    Call me Al, 27 Aug 2009 @ 5:25am

    I've been using computers for years, practically grew up with them. I don't have a huge amount of knowledge but I do have an idea about how different programs work. So if I don't know how to do something I at least know where to start to work it out.

    Many of my colleagues have no idea. They know how to do some things because they have been specifically taught but they don't have a clue how to work things out for themselves. Several times they have asked for help and I've spent a couple of minutes flicking through menus trying to find the right tool and they've then accused me of not knowing what I was doing and have reached for the phone to call IT. Its exhasperating.

    We're also still using Internet Explorer 6 in the office, quite the most cumbersom browser in existance. There were mutterings about upgrading but apparently we won't be because the older members of staff know how to use it and don't want to have to relearn.

    So in conclusion: users are often idiots. If I was IT I would be loathe to let them mess around because they will undoubtebly break something and be unable to fix it themselves.

    So for now we just have a minority of computer savvy workers who are frustrated all the time with their restrictive system.

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