I can’t believe I’m writing this post in the year 2012 and not 2002…
I have written about my issues with the type of people competing with
me us for jobs before, but this time I have taken issue with employers.
I have had the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing companies in the past and have had a few awesome bosses. What makes a good boss for an employee like me? One who gives me enough rope to hang myself with and waits to see what I do. I choose not to take advantage of the rope and hang myself. I am able to make a plethora of choices that affect my work ethic and productivity and I am happier in my job knowing that my boss trusts me to be responsible and assumes I am mature enough to make my own decisions. The work and results I produce are evidence of this.
With the proliferation of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter employers are struggling to determine how to address employee internet use. Some decide to ban networking sites in the workplace and others trust employees to use their own discretion and limit internet use at work to work-related activities. Some employers only grant access to the specific sites needed to perform ones job and block access to anything else. Changing job roles and the need for more access is dealt with on a case-by-case basis usually by HR or IT departments. The most popular excuse is that these filters are in place in order to protect confidential information on the employer’s network and to block potential security threats, but generally these policies are merely in place to control employee internet use. How else can we be sure that employees aren’t getting paid to sit on Facebook all day?
What’s even more exasperating is that companies believe that blocking non-work-related sites automatically translates to increased productivity. They presume the relationship between internet access and productivity is a linear relationship and don’t take into consideration that many of the employees will spend more time trying to get around internet filters than they would have spent to begin with. More importantly, since most people have smartphones it seems almost useless to ban these sites when employees have access to them at their fingertips anyway. If your employees are avoiding getting their work done, they will find a way to do it. Unrestricted internet access is linked to higher productivity from happier employees with a long list of benefits for employers.
Here’s what I think:
If you can’t trust your employees, fire them.
Limiting access to specific sites during specific times of the day is one thing (and I still think it is ridiculous) but on the basis that it encourages employees to sit at their desk throughout lunch and potentially get some work done, I’ll give employers +1 for this tactic.
But limiting employee internet use to a specific time slot (say, 10 minutes per day in 2 minute intervals) is just insulting and in my opinion, reflects poorly on the employer’s ability to hire productive, mature employees.
If you can’t trust your employees to use discretion and self-regulate their own internet use, you have a bigger problem than Facebook.
Think I’m wrong? Please speak up in the comments!