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- Censorware and productivity question
- Bill Oliver
April 19, 2006, 5:36 pm
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I am involved in some SOP debates regarding setting web filtering
policies. I am taking the position that extensive web filtering
policies in the name of productivity (as opposed to filtering sites
that increase liability) have no proven benefit.
While it is possible to show that some workers "waste" time at work
surfing the web, I am not sure that it has been shown that restricting
web access actually increases overall productivity. Those people who
want to waste time will waste time -- and if they aren't surfing the
web, they'll be reading the paper or standing by the office cooler or
However, while I can find studies showing that restricting web
access decreases time spent accessing the web (doh!), I can't
find any studies actually addressing overall productivity.
Does anybody know of any such studies? Any pointers would
Re: Censorware and productivity question
I agree with you. However, I had a similar problem some years ago, and
I have yet to find any such studies. You'll find plenty of vendor
sponsored studies that suggest a productivity benefit (of course), but
they are vendors that also sell a 'solution' to this problem.
No true, objective study of this sort has been done, to my chagrin, by
any of the 'vendor-neutral' certifying or 'security' organizations
(this is *just* the sort of thing 'they' ought to be doing with member
dues actually) in sundry magazines, etc.
However, ...this is how the debate was won in my organization:
After quite a lot of debate, and a clear division of camps there was an
impasse. Basically the argument is that people would be on the internet
all day wasting time, versus the other camp (myself included) that said
that this is really a job for managers to measure deliverables and
deadlines, and if they aren't being met (the internet is hardly the
only culprit for this, family problems, conversing, smoke breaks, etc
all have an impact on worktime) then the manager should and could
determine if if was excessive internet use that was the problem, then
advise the employee accordingly. There are no IT safeguards against the
dozens of other distractions mentioned above, why should this be one?
Companies should trust the employee to use internet access judiciously,
as they do with breaks, smoking, leaving early to catch a kid's soccer
So, this older guy (in his 70's or possibly older) chimes in, he had
been quiet through most of the conversation. He said basically, "I
remember this same dialogue about phones, before we had phones on every
desk" (this tells you how old he was)..."People said if we put phones
on every desk people wouldn't work, they'd be on the phone all day, and
all that sort of thing...*pause*...and none of it happened."
That was it, the case was closed, your mileage might vary.
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