As an eminent opponent against excessive Internet blocking and filtering it was a delight to read Clearswift’s (network security vendor and WebSpy technology partner) latest research report outlining the impact of social media and Web 2.0 in today’s workplace.
Over 1,600 managers and staff were surveyed covering the UK, Australia, Germany, and the USA during the first two months of 2010. The major findings from the study, titled “Web 2.0 in the Workplace,” include:
- Over 79% of respondents said that the most important feature of a workplace for them, above job title and even pay, is to be trusted to organize their own work schedule and have free access to the Internet.
- 62% of workers thought it should be allowable to use social networking services from their desk for their own private purposes. Just 51% of management-level had the same viewpoint.
The report classifies this group of workers as “Generation Standby,” largely because they never seem to fully switch off from work or home. According to the report Generation Standby are so attuned to this way of working that even in these economically challenging times, one fifth (21%) would turn down a job that did not allow them access to social networking sites or personal email during work time.
The characteristics of this group is that they are regularly ‘home-ing’ from work due to the increased pressure to work longer hours, regularly carrying out social and private tasks at work. The trend is most pronounced amongst 25 – 34 year olds, with 57% undertaking personal tasks such as checking social networks, email, online shopping at work. Although 66% of all employees say they make up the time they spend using the internet for personal reasons by working later or through lunch.
The research includes evidence of positive steps by businesses to adopt social media across the global workplace with US companies leading the way, followed by Germany, the UK and Australia. More than half of managers surveyed believe that web collaboration technology is now ‘critical’ to the future success of their business.
Richard Turner, Clearswift’s Chief Executive, commented that, “Today’s research shows evidence of a change in attitude and confidence when it comes to Web 2.0 in the workplace – from the ‘stop and block’ mentality that many businesses adopted in previous years to an appreciation that Web 2.0 is good for business and should be implemented more fully.
Turner also added, “There is no business opportunity in stopping stuff. Businesses need to evolve their approach to security and it is clear from this new report they are starting to understand the issues that Web 2.0 creates. […] Yes, there are security risks with these new services, but there are also tremendous benefits too. There is no black and white when it comes to business security, but companies are learning to adapt and embrace these new business technologies”.
Recommended further readings:
- The Cost of Blocking Employee Internet Usage
- U.S Army End Ban on Social Media Sites
- Another Reason Organizations Should Avoid Excessive Internet Blocking
- Internet Monitoring Best Practices – 10 Valuable Tips