Monitoring Employees

This report from The Guardian presents the results of a survey of British employment managers concerning Internet usage:

The survey found 65% of organisations monitored usage, rising to 86% in local government and 88% in the police. This led 65% of employers to block access to “inappropriate” sites, rising to 89% in local government and 90% in the utilities. Eighteen per cent of employers limited internet access to certain times of day, rising to 38% in the insurance industry.

The survey notes a generation gap concerning Internet usage.  Older managers considered the Internet “a massive timewaster” and “most young managers wanted to use the internet for research, professional development and other aspects of getting the job done.”

Maybe those older managers need more Facebook friends.

7 thoughts on “Monitoring Employees”

  1. I worked at my uncles mortgage firm this summer and some employees actually did use the internet in productive ways. However, there were some employees there that did slack off, surfing the net and pretty much wasting time. Its really unfortunate that those employees really hurt the ability for the others to be productive. At my uncle’s firm, those employees that needed certain websites for research needed to tell him the exact websites for him to unblock them. In reality it he would be better off just firing those incompetent employees and having the few good ones around. It would save him and everyone else a lot of time.

  2. I’ve had several internship opportunities over various summers… and for the younger generation, it is inevitable that we get side-tracked from work, even as you make it clear that you’re at work.

    Facebook, chat programs, e-mail, online subscriptions… there are plenty of things unrelated to work that could distract you from your job.

    To an exaggerated extent, I have seen co-workers play online games during working hours, after finishing things early. That certainly eats up company bandwidth.

    Although productivity and workplace privacy is important, I can totally understand the need for organizations to have a whole department devoted on playing the traffic cops of the workplace.

  3. We are undergoing a transition from an old work style to an internet style. The use of internet certainly distracts people from work. However, compared to the old work style, the new internet style saves more time, which makes the distraction affordable somehow.
    On the other hand, eliminating all the distractions from internet by monitoring could stress employees too much. Employees are not machines. A little distractions help them relax and work easily. I think it is a wise management to ignore certain degree of distractions.

  4. At home, I’d have to say that internet access most definitely distracts me from my duties. Sometimes I spend hours on end just following a trail of random Wikipedia articles. At work, I wouldn’t be able to go without internet access. It is integral for research and, of course, email when following up with clients. I suppose it really depends on what kind of workplace you’re in and what kind of work you do. I never check my personal email or log onto Facebook when I’m using a work computer.

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