Our company just took it's first step towards evil by blocking Facebook and Twitter based on perceived lost productivity. Don't get me wrong, I am all for keeping productivity high. I have always appreciated our past stance that Internet and computer waste was a management issue not a technological issue.
I was given the task to come up with a way to block primarily Facebook. In the last year we have purchased Cisco's Ironport product for its ability to block dynamic categories that is constantly being updated by Ironport's system.
Blocking sites like Facebook and Twitter is unecessary and couterproductive, here are some reasons why:
- Trust: If companies can entrust their employees with things like patient care, financial data, or customer care it follows that they should be able to trust these very same employees with something like access to social media properties. Social media policies should, of course, be put in place to provide guidelines for your employees.
- Creativity: There are pundits out there that calculate the billions lost with employee status updates and tweets. Ultimately though, our minds need a reprieve from our workplace tasks - that's why we have smoke breaks, coffee breaks and water cooler conversations. Stepping away from a problem via Facebook or Twitter may actually help you solve it.
- Empowerment: I'm of the mind that you become powerful by empowering others. If you think you are optimizing productivity or security by blocking certain sites, you are probably doing the exact oppositewhile at the same time creating an illusion of security for yourself and your company.
- Happiness: Your employees might work 40 hours a week but when you factor in commutes, prep time, and work that is brought home - it's a lot more than 40 hours. If you can increase your collective workplace happiness by letting your call center folks see their friend's vacation pictures or new boyfriend on Facebook, you will likely be paid forward with a more productive workplace.
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