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Should Companies Restrict Employees Use of Facebook, Twitter?

Gannett Restricting Employees from Social Network Use?

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[ Social Media]

Update: The original title of this article was "USA Today Publisher Restricting Employees from Using Social Networks?" USA Today called WebProNews requesting a change because it made it look like USA Today itself was discouraging social media use, which is apparently not the case.

"I can’t speak for the posting on Gannett Blog, but I can say that we at USA TODAY have been working extensively on our social networking efforts," says USA Today Communications Manager Alexandra Nicholson. "USA TODAY was the first national newspaper to offer reader comments, and we continue to expand our community tools by allowing readers to communicate with each other directly, add ‘friends’ through USATODAY.com and through social networking tools like Facebook Connect. Additionally USA TODAY has recently launched a series of moderated communities targeted specifically to our readers, this includes a recent MMA community launch.

Alexandra says that USA Today sees social networking as "a growing effort" on their part and one that they’re "taking on enthusiastically."

Incidentally, Alexandra found our article while doing routine "Twitter surveillance."

Original Article: The controversy never ends when it comes to newspapers and online news. It’s amazing how many debates there really are within this industry.

You’ve got the bloggers vs journalists debate, the fair use debate, and the should social media be used as a source debate to name a few. That last one is apparently even an internal debate within some news organizations.

Valleywag is pointing to a post from a blog (unofficial) about Gannett, publisher of USA Today. The post shares a memo from an editor with the company that is restricting access by employees to social networks. This example is not really about the legitimacy of social networks as credible sources. It’s more about social media in the workplace. The memo says:

It has come to my attention that some staff members are spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites during work hours. Also, some staff members apparently are spending work time on Fantasy baseball research and other personal recreation activities.

This is not appropriate. It is not part of the job. Occasionally it will be necessary for staff members to visit these sites for work purposes, but please reserve social networking and recreational pursuits for your private time.

Is the editor wrong? Probably not entirely. Unless employees are using fantasy baseball research for actual stories, there is probably some misuse going on. But is restricting access to social networks the way to go?

News breaks on Twitter all the time. How would a writer get to it without spending some time on Twitter (or using some kind of Twitter app)? Then there is the fact that social networks are a way to contact potential leads and sources. They’re often easier to get through to people than by phone or email.

"As one reporter put it, ‘Facebook is a modern day Rolodex,’" says VW’s Ryan Tate. "Exactly, and if those infernal tele-phones had never been given out like candy to individual reporters, maybe newspapers would be in better shape today!"

USA Today does have a Twitter account, but seems to be primarily following other USAToday/Gannett accounts. twitter.com/gannett on the other hand has not been updated once, but is being held on to by some guy named Mike Pratt who loves the outdoors:

Gannet Account on Twitter

So where do you stand on this debate? Do social networks have a place in the newsroom, or do the negatives outweigh the positives? How about in other workplace environments? Tell us what you think.

Should Companies Restrict Employees Use of Facebook, Twitter?
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  • http://www.wiigamecopy.info/ andrew games

    Where is the freedom of expression here when they are trying to do this.

  • rico in phoenix

    Gannett is not responding as a newspaper, but as an employer. They are not talking primarily to their reporters, which make up a small part of their staff, but to all employees, including pressmen, secretaries, truck drivers, sale people, etc.

    Some psychologists are describing the effects of social networking as a harmful addiction, with people needing to satisfy their urge with as much as a third of their workday. In this light, social networking has the same productivity-killing effect as chain smoking. I don’t think Gannett is objecting to their reporters having a “smoke” with their contacts, just chain smoking in the designated smoking area for three or four hours a day, where the only contacts they are making are fellow chain-smoking Gannett employees.

    • Chris Crum

      You might be right, the memo did not go into specifics really. Still, I have seen it debated that social media should even be considered a legitimate source of news at all. It is my opinion that it is a legitimate source (while not in all cases obviously), and I would hate to think that a valuable source is being dismissed because of the tomfoolery of others.

      In other words, it would be a shame if reporters were denied access to news that is breaking on Twitter because a salesperson on the staff was checking his fantasy baseball scores. Though this may or may not be the case.

  • http://www.deepweb.co.nz/wp/ Steven Gardner

    “Company protects right to get workers to work for them” shock!

    I agree with Will on this.

    The use of anything (not just social) on company time with no benefit to the company has to be looked at and dealt with if it causes too much downtime.

    I also believe that flexibility of the employer is necessary to make the workplace a good place to be, but lines must be drawn.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they have decent stats to back up their claims.

    Gee, I’m supposed to be working now, is this work? Will I get in trouble?

    No I’m self employed :)

  • I.T. Pro

    It wouldn’t be so bad but these sites are getting plagued with malware spyware, and trojans. People can do what they want on their break time on their own computer.

    Bottom line work computers are the property of the company you work for and are not designed for or protected for any other purpose.

  • Guest

    I think the people that use these sites are cheating their employer. This is a Social site, not a Work site. I agree with the chance of a virus exposure, and the lack of time devoted to the employer. The only reason we go to work for someone else is to provide our attention to THEIR details, not our own.

    Go home, be off work, and then work with Facebook and Twitter, et al.

  • Kostas

    We had the same problem at work with social networks and online gaming.

    Dealing with it was difficult, but the fact of the matter is that nobody was making complaints when we spent hours and hours working overtime during crunch, without pay, because we wanted to deliver the best we could (not because we were late, but because we wanted 110%).

    Employers make a ton of money using their employees and they never seem to bother when people are overworked. Burning employees is like a myth to them.

    The solution was simple: you can still do whatever you want, but you always have to deliver on time and LAN parties can only start when all employees have been in the office for 8 hours. We also managed to keep the core hours schedule working that way, people
    wanted to play, so they came in earlier.

    Of course freelancing is probably the best option if you want to spend time on different activities even during your “work” time.

    As for the issue of twitter and facebook not being a reliable source for news: why who is the one to say that newspapers and tv stations
    are reliable? People work there, they have individual agendas, it’s just something they will say trying to protect their medium.
    Everybody knows you can crosscheck things from 10 different sources on the net, a newspaper on the other hand can be a lot more biased: one journalist covers each story, so you get what he wants to write and of course his work goes through a “routine” check from his editor.

    Control is what they want, if they lose it they don’t like it.

  • http://www.angelscandystore.com Mobe

    Unless it is job related an employee should not be stealing the employers time and wages by being on a social network. As the term states- it’s SOCIAL TIME not WORKING TIME. Do your work when on the job. Do your socializing OFF the job.
    An employer has every reason and right to terminate an employee slacking on the job for being online doing nothing for the company. It’s no different than sleeping on the job for the same amount of time.

    • Ryan kempf

      I agree that unless the usage of Facebook or any other Social Networking site is related to the job at hand these Social Networks should not be used I think a good Idea would be to block off certain ports during work hours so that employees can’t have access to these sites during certain times of the day then at lunch peole should be given some time to check their email and such after that the ports should be closed off again another thing that could be put to use is a timer on the computer and when a person logs on to the internet a form should pop up before the access is given and the employee must fill out a form stating the reason for use of the Internet and if the reason they are using the internet is not job related they should that employee should then recieve a pay cut yes thats right I said a Pay cut so maybe if employees were making less because of internet usage it would cut down on Internet usage that is not job related

  • R. Hiebert

    Companies that are anal about this are losing out on opportunities to take advantage of free PR and HR. Common sense prevails, ie. if secretaries are filing their nails instead of licking stamps & envelopes, then sure enforce a computer use policy that lays it our clearly. Annual performance evaluations should also show how and to what degree an employee is handling this issue.

  • http://www.mariathemuse.com Maria

    The world is a changing folks. Gone are the days where employees are figuratively chained to a desk at their employer’s whim. Despite the current economic situation, people still want do do work they like doing and to have better balance between their work & personal lives.

    The wise employer looks at the work being done rather than the time put in. If quality work is being delivered on time (or even ahead of time) than there’s nothing wrong with employees using the internet for non-work related things. In fact, why not encourage them to put a plug in for their employer while they’re at it.

    As far as cheating an employer, I’ve never worked anywhere (including my own business) where I worked non-stop from the time I walked in the door to the time I left. Breaks and down time are good for productivity and sometimes it’s exactly what’s needed to recharge the batteries and get a fresh perspective. I’ve worked at places that had basketball courts in the warehouse, coloring books at call centers, cards, video games, and tons of other diversions. And one innovative small business I know of includes social networking as part of their time management course, teaching people to effectively use social networking platforms without getting sucked in.

    Social networking is here to stay. Time to embrace it.

    Maria

    • Guest

      It’s not the use that’s the problem its the abuse. We monitored use for the purpose of evaluating if it would be OK to leave full access. We found that 25% of the employees were abusing (they were spending more than 32% of their time on the net on personal items) consuming over 50% of the available bandwidth. We still allow access but it is monitored for abuse. Our clients get better service, our websites perform better and employees can still access the internet they just know that it can’t be abused.

      Companies & employees have to find a reasonable balance. We try to create an environment that our employees enjoy working in but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t expected to work a fair days work nor do we expect them to be robots.

    • Paula Olson

      “people still want do do work they like doing and to have better balance between their work & personal lives”

      In a perfect world, we’d all have jobs we enjoy and look forward to going to work every day. If you took a poll of everyone who’s employed in this country, I’m betting less than 1/2 of the people would say they enjoy going to work every day. It’s called Work for a reason…it is not Play or Socializing time…it is Work.

      Balancing work and your personal life should mean nothing more than being sure you don’t go out the night before and get hammered, resulting in being late for (or missing) work the next day.

      Balancing work and your personal life should not be done during work hours, when your employer is paying you to be there and work…not play.

    • John

      I hope you are not suggesting that employees be allowed to use the internet for non-work related socializing while they are not on break and are suppose to be working! The problem with allowing that is it will always be taken advantage of… maybe not by everybody, but by enough to make it a major problem. Allow socializing in a break room or during lunch breaks.. but if its on the employers dime, it should not be allowed.

      Socializing at the work place is not something new. People have been doing it for generations. What’s new is the different technologies in which to do it, and the ease in which you can socialize.. ie.. chatting, facebook, twitter, email.. etc..

      The average employee puts in 6 hours of productive work per day, during an 8 hour day as it is without socializing on the internet. Letting them access the internet at their desk, for non-work socializing, during company time, will reduce that time to 4 – 5 hours of productive work per day. A formula for disaster for any company, big or small.

    • http://www.pcsmartsolutions.com/ JC Alexandres

      Look Maria … With that thinking a person will be out of a job in these days real fast … Right now in USA we are dragging big time, it is the time to put the team bandana and be ready to work extra hours for our employers, not the time to be thinking in social networking and free time while at work to have fun, open your eyes, reality is here, time to work and make up for all the wasted time of them past gold years.

      Computers can be used for a more inteligent purpose than showing off our chatty-cat capabilities over the Internet, that in no way produce money for our employers to pay for software, hardware, support contracts, and our salary.

  • Paula Olson

    I work for a small commercial real estate office and we recently had to fire our receptionist because she was doing nothing but socializing on the front desk computer. We had no issue with her doing this during breaks and her lunch hour, but it became a problem when she would ignore her duties. And it did not start out that way…when she started with the company, she was very dilligent with her work and kept up with her job duties, but as time progressed, she became less interested in working and more interested in socializing…on the company dime.

    The workplace is meant for work. Yes, it improves morale to have free time during the work day, but why should any company pay an employee to talk to their friends during work hours?

    As an employer (which I was while in business for myself), I did not want to be paying someone to sit and yap it up with their friends…that is for their free time when they are not on the clock.

    I think things have changed since I first became employed in 1978 while I was in college. Employees went to work, did their jobs and went home. Period. I worked in a department store at that time and using a social networking site would have been akin to me leaving my department and going to another one to chat with other employees. Had I done this, I would not have been doing the job I was being paid to do.

    I don’t think the Twitter and Facebook generation (yes, I use both sites) understand that their socializing is not a priority for their employer…the employer’s priority is productivity and employees are paid to be productive and contribute to the success of the company they work for. They are not paid to visit with their friends. It seems this generation feels they have the right to do whatever they want if they’re working at the same time, but that’s not the way it is in the real world.

    If people want to sit on their computers and socialize with thier friends, they should do it on their own time…not while they’re being paid to work.

    • Guest

      hi where i work we be told we can not say any thing about our workmate wheb we are uesing facebook at home or bad thing about the compay

      • Paula Olson

        What does that have to do with anything I said?

    • http://hughzebeezlaughs.blogspot.com Hughze

      You did the right thing. You noticed an employee wasn’t preforming her duties. That is what the management needs to do.

      However; in some businesses, networking is necessary. It would be to the manager’s best and better interest to educate their employees on how to better use social networks to the advantage of preforming their duties, instead of wasting and losing money trying to block them. Most of all, a managers time is best spent watching their employee’s productivity and not what they are doing on the computer.

  • Rich Fa

    Social Networking Applications should be put in the category of “Time Wasting Applications”!

    Twitter is an acronym for Time Wasting In The Total Employers Realm

    This video explains why:

    http://www.kineda.com/twouble-with-twitters

    • Paula Olson

      That was most awesome!

    • steve

      wow, the truth be told, funny video

  • http://pokerknave.com Jack Reynard

    …take your mobile and away you go – twitter while sitting on the lav!

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    I’m a small business owner of a safety and security web site so I don’t have employees to monitor but the concern over employees wasting time on social networks is probably similar to employees wasting time in the breakroom, around the water cooler or taking a long lunch before the social networks came along. At least with the social networking problem, in many cases, there is some actual work being done. I’m not sure how to fix the problem but we all can find ways to waste time…even employers!

  • Alex

    Unless it is part of your job you shouldnt be using social netorking sites like facebook or twitter.
    It’s like the arguement over cell phone use in school,personal freedoms versus structured learning.
    There have to be boundaries set or anarchy will be the result.
    When we are paid to accomplish certain tasks,or when we contract to perform certain tasks we should honor our comitments,plain and simple!

  • http://www.palmspringsdreamhomeraffle.com UpDog

    If you’re worried that your employees are spending too much time on Facebook, etc., regardles of what they’re doing on Facebook, you don’t have a clear enough grasp on whether they are doing the job they’re paid to do, and that’s a bigger problem.

    In fact, performing employees should see it as a scary failure of management if their job performance is based on something other than…their job performance.

    If anything, employees who are performing well AND screwing around are probably not sufficiently challenged and maybe not properly led. This is simply one more indicator to action for a savvy manager.

    Take off all the brakes and set a clear goal – forget about twitter.

    • http://hughzebeezlaughs.blogspot.com Hughze

      That is very true. Managers need to be watching the performance of their team members not what they are doing on the computer.

  • Guest

    If you don

  • http://www.pcsmartsolutions.com/ JC Alexandres

    With the recent infection of the Tweeter network as a good example, it is a big risk to have corporate user accessing social networking sites, beside thery are being paid to be working not blogging over the Internet. No wonder corporate america is dying.

    • http://hughzebeezlaughs.blogspot.com Hughze

      Actually, internet blogging is part of the job.

      I agree that these people need to limit their social networking time on the job to job related business only. The boss can overlook a little family time as well.

      Maybe corporate America needs to die so we can get back to the Mom and Pop businesses. Take a look at what’s happening. Big corporations are stealing our tax payer’s dollars so their upper staff members can get big bonuses.

  • Jaco

    I am the IT manager where I work, so I am the one who decides what our network/internet policies are.

    I do not read emails, monitor web browsing, or limit social networking sites. Basically it’s like I told the president of the firm… “If someone is not doing their work have a talk to them or fire them, but if someone is getting their work done, especially faster than others, but spends sometime online goofing off so what?”

    There is however and understood policy that if I see problems arising, such as bandwidth issues, or a manager comes to me with a “problem employee” I can and will investigate their computer usage.

    The end result, is dedicated employees who respect their management, are willing to work very hard for slightly less money because of the trust put into them as employees.

    In 12 years we have had to talk to 3 employees and only had to fire one immature employee.

    So no I do not support treating employees like children unless they are children.

  • Guest

    If your willing to take your employers money, you should be willing to give an honest days work. The owner of a business hires people to work only when the owner has so much business that he/she can not do it alone. If you spend your work time on social networks, you are not doing what you were hired for. So, if you desire to spend your time at work on a social networking site, then resign and let someone else take your job! Maybe that person needs the income and has a desire to help the company succeed.

  • http://www.jenniferkorol.com Jennifer Korol

    I agree with any employer putting a restriction on their employees’ activity while on shift. Most employees, even now during the depression, are so ungrateful for the jobs their employers have open for them. By their unprofessional behavior, it’s no wonder jobs are being cut back as much as they are. For the employer, it’s not always the case of not being able to afford the employees’ salary as it is not being able to afford them having their play time at work. As a Small Business Owner, I do look foward to opening jobs in the near future, but should that near future look grim, I may only appoint other Entrepreneurs to help me.

  • Guest

    Unless it is part of culture and work then twittering and facebooking etc is a time waster at work. I noticed I wasn’t getting the work done that we needed by the receptionist. So we had techs monitor the web usage – and she knew we could do that. I asked for one days activity in a pdf. Sent it to the receptionist and it was a very short chat.

    I don’t want to waste my time being an internet usage cop.
    www.netsentron.com was used to monitor the activity. The activity could be blocked; however, I don’t want an outright ban.

    The time wasted on this stuff was costing processing of other work and time with clients (who are not facebook users – linked in maybe).
    We are not a news organization and we don’t need to twitter for work.

    If it is not part of the business culture then it should be kept to a ‘reasonable’ level.

  • Ken C

    When employees steal time for social networking, etc., it affects us all. When productivity goes down, the cost to do things goes up and that cost gets tacked onto everything we pay for.

    Employers should definitely block all access to social networking and even the Internet, generally, unless it is needed to do the job. Work is a 4 letter word. It is not fun.

    It is OK to enjoy one’s work and all workplaces should be a pleasant place to do the job, but it is not supposed to include personal time.

    One possible solution to the virus problem is to have a room with a couple isolated computers, connected to the Internet for employees to use on their lunch hour to take care of personal business. People are likely to spend less time on the Internet, if they have to go to another room to do it. And, if they spend a lot of time in the other room, it becomes obvious that they are not working, without turning IT people into Internet police to check on who is doing what.

  • Guest

    This Is: “Solution for Those Who Want to Twitter on Bosses Dime”

    In regards to comment:
    employees who are performing well AND screwing around are probably not sufficiently challenged and maybe not properly led. This is simply one more indicator to action for a savvy manager.
    I agree a good leader or manager should be able to motivate their staff. You however are justifying taking pay you have not really earned. The employee is responsible for their actions, they agree to the terms of the company everyday they show up for work Again I stress if you don

    • http://www.SteveParisi.com Steve Parisi

      The answer like most things in life is…. “it depends”

      Is the employee gaining profitable relationships and making money for you and themselves on twit or face? If they are…leave ‘em alone! It depends on the job. Is it a sales driven job where relationships are everything?? Leave ‘em alone.

      We have only yet begun to realize the tip of the iceberg, have not even reached the tipping point, of the amount of actual sales biz that is getting done on these sites. Talent, sales, recruiting. you name it.

      So, take a step back and do you homework. If you understand the global implications, and local of these sites, you will quickly realize that an open mind can take your business to the next level. A closed mind, will shut your doors, as your competition utilizes this as “one tool” in an overall marketing campaign.

      For me, the issue is “managing the use of the sites” as opposed to setting yourself up to look like an old codger that is waaaaay behind where business is headed. I just met with an industry colleague that I met on facebook. think about it.

  • http://www.simpliciti.biz Guest

    To much time is wasted by employees on the web, be it news, stock trading, twitter, utube, facebook, recipes etc etc.

    The internet is a great tool, but business needs to focus their employees on their job tasks and web /internet business tasks.

    In todays economic and globally competitive enviornment, it is even more neccessary that employers get what they pay for from their employees or they will all become like GM and Chrysler.

    It is no unrealistic to expect to get 7.5 hours work for 7.5 hours pay.

  • http://www.MarketingWithPaul.com Paul

    It totally depends on the person. If the employee is nonproductive, distractions will not help at all. However, other people can use Twitter and Facebook to assist their position without taking away from their productivity.

  • Davros

    I think it should depend on if they are good employees or not.

  • mrantonsen

    Its a very good thing privately that we have the social netvorking system. It can connect you with your deepest childhood connections to lost love relationships and the amazing thing is that you have a chanse to connect it all together. This can lead you into more social networking in real life. Besides you meet new people through other people. I advice everyone to have a moral conduct with what they want out there on facebook. Its a free network and your behaviour here will effect your life so choose your connections carefully. When it comes to companies its a different matter. Your behviour online will also effect the company you work with if you are not strictly private about your social account. Personally I have created 2 different facebook accounts one for just private and personal issues and another one for more business and personal intellectual interrests. So the private network I just endure in personal things and normal common interrests. While on the other account I am more into following the business hype and the hardcore world amongst the quality and refined issues and personalities out there. I have also tried to create groups there where we can issue a special interest but the network hasn become big enough and secure enough to have the capasity to genereate business online within that network

    My advice for employees is to avoid being logged on those sites while trying to consentrate about work. Be dilligent about this and everything else you do online too. Dont check your private emails or anything else than whats nessesary for the company you work for. Do that on your own time.

    Besides this I have heard stories of companies who used the MSN Messenger and video service among them selves and also with connecting their customers. But this requires deep trust among the employees and emplyers because that kind of trust comes only through after a couple years time of working.

  • Guest

    I don’t think social networking is here to stay for the long haul. Classmates.com is one of the first, brought next Myspace, then Facebook. It is the volatility of technology that makes it a tough investment. Anyway, if your employer doesn’t allow use during work, use a proxy or Ping.fm and you can tweet or facebook all day without going on the blocked sites .

  • http://www.comproinc.biz Guest

    If there is a perfromance issue with an employee you address the issue with the employee. You shouldn’t punish/treat all your employees the same way just cuz a few have a problem. Facebooking is not that much different than reading the newspaper at work, is it?

    Look at the impact Facebook has on society. If your employees have facebook pages that list you as the employer isn’t that advertising?? If they have other employees from your company in their friend list, isn’t that good for moral? What if they start talking about what a jerk the boss is cuz Facebook is blocked… how they feel treated like children – not good for the company, especially when your company is trying to attract new, young (aka Facebook familiar) talent.

    I remember when cell phones were going to be a fad. I also remember many companies putting “cell phone use” policies in place. Guideline needs to be published by the employer. State their postion on getting work done, on the image they present about the compnay (or that they not present the company on the internet at all) and follow that policy.

    Basically, what it all boils down to is doing your work. People will always find things to do that the employer feel is a waste of time. Don’t tie up your HR and IT departments trying to regulate specific items.

    In the 1940′s people wasted employers’ time reading the newspaper
    In the 1950′s people wasted employers’ time at the water cooler
    In the 1960′s people wasted
    In the 1970′s people wasted employers’ time protesting
    In the 1980′s people wasted employers’ time e-mailing
    In the 1990′s people wasted employers’ time surfing the Internet
    In the 2000′s people wasted employers’ time with social networking

    Thats a lot of technology to block! It is not the technology that is the problem… it’s setting the expectation level for your employees.

    The gun manufacturers didn’t commit the murder, liquor manufacturers didn’t create the alocoholic, fast food restaraunts didn’t make us fat, Facebook didn’t waste the time…

    • simon willins

      no, but we did lock the gun and the beer away at work time

      • Guest

        I just wasted 5-6 minutes reading about wasting time. Are you people that bored that your need to write about wasting time?

  • http://www.steveparisi.com Steve Parisi

    social networking is not going away. the medium will change. it won’t be face or twit…. but it will be here, in another shape or form, and will be online. if you are a cash sales driven business, block the site on your server, and watch the competition pass you by in your local market. it’s that simple. Did anyone watch Obama get elected? or was it just me watching how social networking was, on the front end, almost solely responsible for his message moving massively around the country with only one or two entries on his staffs part, right under his competitions nose? hello

  • http://www.movie666.com/ Deke Thornton

    Sounds like short sighted management by a bunch of beancounters to me. Gannett should work on improving the quality of their newspaper through performance indices and other metrics instead of micromanaging their workers. Work should be measured in terms of results, not hours/minutes/seconds dedicated to the job. I don’t care if my employee spends 95% of the day on facebook if he or she or it gives me what I want when I need it and helps my business grow to godzilla like proportions and roast the competition.

    • simon willins

      and the likelihood of that is?

  • http://bancheromedia.blogspot.com Banchero Media Productions

    Personally and professionally, businesses — including educational institutions! — should allow the use of social networking tools.

    The main concerns are that employees work and that employees (and students) not surf for porn using company/school IT assets.

    There are plenty of content control technologies that help screen porn sites — however, we can’t prevent this sort of behavior 100%.

    And bosses can identify employees who are slackers. Once they do, they should write them up and if needed fire them.

    Social networks are valuable for sharing ideas, marketing, and sales.

  • http://www.littledazzle.com dazzleUp

    that’ll really depends on the purpose of using it in the office. if you are promoting your business online then yes facebook or twitter is good but if it’ll just be to check on updates from friends and not related to work then it’s not ok. the company is paying you to work and not just to mingle, but indeed, you can open it during your free time and/or if you’re already off for work. :)

  • Guest

    From the IT standpoint, employees get more spybots, worms, other apps like google tool bars from social sites. Having to combat why my computer is running slow because it has 200 malware issues is more than productivity, it just pure bad judgement. From a bosses viewpoint, would any of you want to pay people to play on the computer all day? We find the younger employees access these sites more frequently, and thus are more apt to act irresponsibly than seasoned professionals. We had thought of blocking sites, but finally decided on spy software-http://www.webwatchernow.com that monitors what employees do. We could then judge what was appropriate or not. We caught one employee cheating on his wife, another moonlighting on the job, and yet another misusing sick/personal days. We got rid of the bad apples, and from this example those who were left knew we pay them to work, not text, talk on cell phones, smoke cigarettes, or twit.

    • Guest

      I don’t care if it is your company, this is spying and should be illegal.

      • E

        This is far from spying. A business owner has a right to monitor these things. If it is company e-mail/internet then the company has a legal right to monitor them. If a user is checking personal e-mail the company only has a legal right to see that he/she is visiting those sites and how long they are visiting those sites but not the content of those e-mails. Each company along with the confidentialiaty agreement should make the employee sign a form acknowledging this. It is the law that the business owner has this right but most companies make employees sign it as a kinda in your face you can say you didnt know type deal. I, being in IT, agree with this law. If you are paid to work you work, not surf the internet for 7 1/2 hours a day (30 minutes for lunch). I for one do monitor this but I am not a IT “freak” that doesnt allow my employees to do anything. And secondly if I do not have a suspicion I do not have the time to be checking this stuff. So aparently you did something to make me look in the first place. But to say this is an invasion of privacy is absured. Just like a business owner has the right to place cameras in all areas of the building except changing rooms and bathrooms.

  • simon willins

    lets turn the tables a moment (I am a business owner)

    say you toilet leaks, you call a plumber. you take time off to meet the plumber. Its a two hour fix and the plumber charges fifty pounds an hour.

    However He’/ She’s on site for four hours and gives you a bill for two hundred pounds plus parts and VAT.

    Are you happy to pay him

    • http://cherylsgifts2go.net Cherylsgifts2go

      What a great example you wrote. I enjoyed reading it and, it is absolutely true!

  • http://linkdirs.blogspot.com/ Eric (Link Directories)

    People, think of it this way that if you owned a company, would you allow your employees to waste time on Twitter, Facebook or any other social site? would you let them spend 1 hour out of 8 precious hours and still pay them for the 8 hours? would you?

  • netadmin

    answer this question. has anyone implemented a system where users can setup a social networking account with business clients only as “friends” and a system for forwarding links and posting information that clients need. I am thinking there is a great communication tool available here and would love to see a social network site setup for business that is being used as an effective tool.
    I have a feeling that in a social network environment setup for business, users would be flooded with activity that would leave them little time for screwing around on the bosses dime. May even keep them off the phone and allow them to work more methodically (and productively) to respond to customer requests.
    If the company is not moving toward communicating with clients in this manner then a policy statement should be used to make it clear to all employees that the sites shall not be used on company property or business time. Blocking measures should be easy enough to implement.
    Like most responders indicated, if you have conscientious workers who are supposed to be independently productive, they will be looking for ways to be more successful. If they are screwing around on business time, then they will screw around in other ways if you turn off social networking access.

  • http://www.seosean.com SEO Services

    Obliviously it depends on your company but I don’t allowing people to be on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. The only exception is if this is part of the process for working on one of our projects. Reason for the restriction is just the same as if I were to let people leave work to go home and watch TV. There is no reason they should be on these social networking sites playing around while I’m paying them to do project.

  • netadmin

    How about a group of developers who are normally using forums and getting solutions and ideas form other industry talent. Why not let them create a social business network to better accomplish this networking in a single consolidated environment.
    Again, I am thinking positively about how to utilize this tool for business. Not everyone wants to gossip about their weekend or find out what their friends are doing with their kids today.

  • http://www.machwan.in MACHWAN

    it.s ok if a employee is doing in the sphere time and if it.s not affecting his working hour.

  • http://www.tirangaagarbatti.com Tiranga

    Doesn,t matter until and unless the employee is performing well.But if the employee is waisting the time and money of the company just for fun then it should be strickly banned at the workplace.

  • http://www.backuputilities.net/ bbh

    Because all staff member has a free job schedule. May be we are more like a freelancers, not a usual workers. We have some definite tasks with certain results for each person. So if you didn’t do your job in time – it’s obvious. In the same time if you have some free time you can visit these sites for a while. But if you have an urgent tasks you should work at night or whenever you want in order to fulfill it.

  • http://ravenholme.com Esher

    The factor in this case which is what needs to be evaluated is simply, are your employees being less productive because of it?

    For smaller companies this can be evaluated on a case by case basis. For a larger company of course, you have to look at the overall usage of the site.

    Monitoring how much employees are on the site, and if they are indeed being less productive when they are is the simplest way to do this.

    For the company I work for, Facebook is a useful tool for networking as our business relies heavily on word of mouth. So to have it as an avenue of communication for our technicians and marketing staff is invaluable. And being a smaller company we can monitor how productive our employees are being pretty effectively.

    Besides, if its not Facebook and Twitter, it’ll be other sites. For instance, I am totally not being productive right now, as I write this and instead surfing tech sites. I am wasting my and my companies time right now, and not using either of these sites at all. :D

    • michael lamb

      wow, you should be really proud of yourself! Lazy workers who think they are entitled to surf the web while their companies are floundering and wondering whether to send your job to some guy in China or India who’ll be grateful for making 1/4th what you do.

      Sense of entitlement among too many western workers is astonishing. If you are not productive, you hurt your company. If your company hurts, it will cut costs. If it cuts you, you lose a job. If the company cannot recover, it will go out of business.

      Think I’m joking? Might want to take a ride down to the unemployment office these days and talk to some folks.

      Yes, your bosses are watching your productivity and you’re all being judged. Days of being lazy and poking your high school buddies on facebook is over.

  • http://brochin.net Joe Brochin

    Facebook or Twitter is the equivalent of the water cooler down the hall. It is a place where employees can gather and discuss, in short conversations, problems they are encountering or even cuss about the boss.

    Like the water cooler however, It can be a trap for non-producers and slackers to hang out and waste of a company’s time and money.

    If a company has the network monitoring tools, then it should monitor network bandwidth use, also track how often and for how long employees are on these social media sites.

    If and employee is spending 1 hour out of 8 you are paying him for on non-work related activities, then that employee needs more work or responsibility, otherwise they need fired.

    If it becomes a problem, block the darn things.

    • http://forafrica.co.za For Africa

      Each employee contributes to the profit margin of a company. Let him not only forfeit his/her income, but also pay the losses suffered by the company… if a company looses a deal to poor productivity … let the employer responsiable for that loss pay for the loss.

  • http://forafrica.co.za For Africa

    When a company pay’s the bill they have control over the size of the expense account. A company may not invade some ones privacy, surely they have the right to restrict the expenditure.

  • http://www.thepleasuresallmine.com Guest

    Lots of time is wasted on facebook and twitter and should be banned from use at work. Most companys will only allow access at break times but with some of the content on twitter it should not be acessable at all in the workplace.

  • http://www.thepleasuresallmine.com Guest

    Should be banned in my view

    • http://www.vallyplanttraining.co.uk Plant Training

      Couldn’t agree more with you on this

  • Guest

    If people don’t want to work, they don’t need the internet to avoid it. Take away their favorite time-wasting site, and they’ll find something else to distract themselves with. That’s a problem with work ethic, not with the web, and is best dealt with by talking to the person displaying the problem behaviors, not passive-aggressively banning the site so you don’t have to have a face-to-face confrontation.

    We need to constantly be available to students in my job, so everybody in our workplace is on Facebook, and many of us stay logged on for most of the day. It has become an easy way for us to keep up to date with one another as well, dropping memos and updates to each other, and saving ourselves trips across the building if somebody we want to deliver papers to is out on lunch break. Can that be abused? For certain. But if we shut it down, students won’t suddenly become more inclined to climb the stairs to our offices. Believe me, we learned that the hard way.

    Facebook might not be here to stay, but social networking is. And if we want to be able to communicate effectively with younger generations, we’d better adapt to the tools they use to do it.

    • R. Solis

      The easier the access to–and the camouflage-ability (?) of such distractions in the work place, the chances increase that said distractions will be abused. People are people…and distractions are more prevalent than ever.

      That is why implementing advanced productivity tools and techniques is so important. If you measure the productivity of employee key functions, the lack of adequate productivity levels will prompt a review of the employees desire to be in that particular company’s workforce. It’s easy, efficient and takes the emotional issues out of the equation.

      Professionals use their time and talents to *both* work and play on the job. If employees is operating to an acceptable level of productivity, their restrictions in the workplace become moot.

  • http://www.concretecottage.com Concrete Hurricane Proof Construction

    I have one employee, I have told her over and over that for me to keep her on 5 days a week, she must be SUPER productive during her part time hours here…but every time I walk past her door, she switches screens quickly and always clears the history before she leaves every day…I do not have time to baby sit her. When I catch her overtly doing texting , she makes a comment like “My husband says Grandmother is having a bad day” …not an emergency , just chit chat. The husband is a stay at home bum.

    I am totally fed up…..if I cut her back, I may loose her and she is real good at some things…but my income is about 1/3 of what it was when I hired her, pre-recession.

    She gets the option on Monday to go to 2 or 3 days a week or totally stay off all social media and only take EMERGENCY phone or text messages. She cannot wait to get to work to ck her Gmail. I cant afford it as it has been and the trend is towards even more time wasted. I must do something asap.

    • http://cherylsgifts2go.net Cherylsgifts2go

      I truely understand your concern about your employee. Employees should appreciate the job they have and, concentrate on the responsibilities of doing that job.

      Remember, there are quite a few people out there at the moment that could probably run circles around an employee who is taking advantage of the situation.

  • http://www.melbourneonline.com.au Mark – Small Business Melbourne

    I think this is an issue that needs to be dealt with on a business-by-business basis and possibly even with individual employees.

    I used to work for an employer who had blocked all social networking pages, all web-based email accounts and all gaming sites because it was costing the department too much time and money. We were still allowed to use our moblie phones.
    I thought this was an extremely fair policy because when we’re at work we’re paid to WORK, not tend to our personal lives.

    It is different for some companies though. It is sometimes beneficial to have employees who are ever-social. Sometimes it can be of benefit if they have access to a large brain trust.

    It often comes down to the individual employee and how they choose to use their time.

    • http://cherylsgifts2go.net Cherylsgifts2go

      My thoughts exactly about using Facebook, Twitter or, any other social sites. Being a former manager of employees, I feel this is stealing time from the company and, not getting a job done on time which, reflects on the manager. The employees are getting paid to do a job not, socialize on the internet.

      I feel sorry for the manager of employees in this day and age with the cell phones and internet freedom the employees take advantage of in the work place.