WebProNews is an online news site covering the latest developments in search engines, SEO, social media marketing and online advertising and I have been subscribing to them for many odd years. Recently they have been posting interviews, surveys and comments in relation to the use of social media.
New research from Robert Half Technology indicates that over half of chief information officers (CIOs) do not allow employees to visit social networking sites for any reason while they’re at work. This information comes from a survey of 1,400 CIOs from companies around the US with 100 or more employees.
Is this strictness justified? Amber Naslund makes some good points in a WebProNews interview. Among other things she says that instead of employers telling their staff how they should not be using social media, they should try balancing that by giving them some ways that they should use it.
What I say – People are not robots, employers need to find a middle-way
In some parts of the world, bandwidth is charged at exorbitant rates, so some sort of safeguard and watchfulness are required from a pure cost standpoint.
I feel it is unreasonable, however, to expect employees to work without some sort of social interaction, especially in a client-facing role. Humans are social creatures and being social stimulates all sorts of wonderful brain activity; production CAN be increased as long as employees understand what REASONABLE use of the Internet entails.
“Phone bills are itemized, and web browsing should be too!”
More often than not, this distinction is not explained or understood. We all have telephones on our desk these days, but it would be unthinkable for us as employees to spend all day chatting to our wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends. Phone bills are itemized, and web browsing should be too.
While this may come across as a plug for our products, it is far more than that. I truly believe that blocking defeats the purpose and the spirit of the Internet in general. I’ve dealt with companies that lock down everything except for 50 sites. I’ve also dealt with companies that perform no monitoring, reporting, or any such user governance. Both forms of policies (if you can call the latter example a policy) are extreme and do no good in the long term.
At WebSpy we have found the majority consensus of our customer base to be alike: they return to us and tell us that their bandwidth usage, and their employee browsing habits have all changed for the better when their employees have it explained to them that before work, after work and during lunch, no one really cares what you do or where you go – within reason (and seriously, browsing for porn at work is unbelievably stupid) – and that everything you say and do online bears some reflection back to your employer.
Education always triumphs over draconian measures!
Rather than sneer at your user base with some ideological feeling of moral superiority, educate and explain to them what the consequences of their browsing habits are. Ultimately, they will still appreciate their pay cheque arriving and will avoid the chance of jeopardizing such things. Inserting Internet usage policies into contracts protects the employer and informs the employee exactly where he stands.
Would love to hear YOUR thoughts on this subject!
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