So it's lunchtime, and I'm online, flitting between the Manchester Evening News and the Times when I recall a conversation I had with a friend a couple of days ago.
Last Tuesday he had gone into work to find that MSN, Yahoo and Facebook had been universally blocked for all - apart from senior management.
He opened his Email inbox to find a company-wide email saying that these sites were now blocked as the staff had been wasting too much time and 'productivity levels' had been decreasing.
On top of this they were going to be monitoring which sites were being accessed and possibly block those as well (my friend has a friend in the IT dept - banks and utility companies are next up for the cyber-guillotine).
Now this has got me thinking about using the internet during work hours. Obviously here at I-COM we spend a fair part of our day surfing the web - it's integral to our job and we would be out of business in a week if we couldn't, but if we need to pay a bill, check an email or read an online paper then that's fine as well.
This doesn't mean we all come into work and log onto Facebook, but in this day & age shouldn't employers trust their staff enough to give them access and say "Feel free in your lunch hour or if you're in work early."?
The people that have made this decision seem to be remarkably short sighted. Employers will find that it's the little things like this that will keep or even boost productivity in their workforce. Come the time when they need people to come in on a weekend to help out and go the extra mile, removal of perks like this will be strong in the mind of the employees.
This leads me to a second thought: with so many of our day-to-day tasks carried out online (everything from ordering pizzas to paying bills) how long will it be before internet access - like a water-cooler or bathroom facilities - will be an employee's right?
I have also spoken to other friends and this seems to be a remarkably common policy, so I'm throwing the question open to you:
Are you allowed to use the internet at work for personal use in your lunch hour? Have you had it taken away as a company policy recently, and if you have, what result has it had on morale?
Don't worry we'll keep your answers anonymous!
Read Next Blog PostClose