According to the Gartner group, non-work related internet surfing causes American businesses a 40% loss in productivity every year! This is a very powerful statistic and one that should be given some careful consideration by organizations of all sizes, though unfortunately this is not the case.
The necessity for internet filtering:
The issue is primarily with small businesses who believe that such a statistic is only relevant to larger enterprises with hundreds of employees. However, larger companies are quicker to consider the legalities surrounding uncontrolled internet usage and the possibility of repercussions on the organization itself; therefore they are generally much more focused on implementing acceptable usage policies and web filtering technologies to make sure they’re protected.
With SMBs, the smaller workforce often promotes a much more relaxed almost ‘family’ atmosphere and business owners through fear of destroying such relations are resistant to introducing a monitoring or filtering policy. According to a recent Gallup poll, the average employee spends over 75 minutes per day using office computers for non-business related activity, which translates into an annual loss of $6250 per year, per employee
Issues surrounding web monitoring in the workplace:
The fact is it doesn’t have to feel like yay or nay! It should not be a case of making employees feel uncomfortable or irritated that they’re are being scrutinized or denied their 15min chill-out time between stressful projects (which some argue actually boosts overall daily productivity). However, neither does it make business sense to allow employees to take advantage of your trusting nature, after all it’s your organization that’s being affected. Every minute off task is affecting your businesses bottom line, that’s the long and short of it.
A further issue, other than that of time and productivity costs is the prevailing dangers of the internet such as viruses, phishing scams, Trojans, spam and so forth. You may want to give your users full web access and the ability to use the internet for personal browsing, social networking and so on, but you also have to be mindful of the dangers posed by such security threats that lurk on these sites.
It’s imperative that all organization with an internet connection, stop malware and viruses whilst also maximizing bandwidth and protecting their company ‘s data! Failure in any of these areas can have significant affect on the company, legally, financially and with regards to productivity. People neglect to consider how costly IT maintenance bills can be when things have already went wrong, or the negative impact a legal case brought against a company by an employee claiming negligence can have on the organizations reputation.
Protecting your business’s security and keeping employee morale high is key!
The key is to find that middle ground, whereby you know your organization online activities are being fully protected and staff productivity maximized without causing resistance or lowering staff morale. Hence availing of a service that allows the organization to set quotas or time restrictions with regard to personal browsing is a much more popular choice by companies of all sizes as it keeps everyone happy. Organizations are able to better manage their staff’s internet usage without simply blocking sites deemed ‘unproductive’.
Employers are able to allow personal browsing at particular times of day, perhaps during breaks. Or an overall time allowance can be granted to staff which they can use at anytime but when the limit is reached access is denied for the rest of the day. In regard to web 2.0 sites and social media platforms specifically, full access can be granted (as many companies are endorsing social media to promote their brand and interact with customers) but a restriction can be placed on the number of posts or comments employees are able to make.
Such options will allow you greater control over internet usage in your office but not result in disgruntled staff. Additionally a web filtering service will keep out all the cyber dangers that threaten your company’s security and IT systems, such as viruses, spyware, malware and phishing scams. Ensuring your company and staff are protected from such cyber dangers and proving your general concern for employee security through such implementation, additionally helps you fulfill your legal obligation as an employer, to the Duty of Care act!
As a business owner you are only to aware that problems can arise at anytime, so the sensible thing is to protect yourself from as many of these as possible before they even happen, so you can forget worrying about what might happen and get on with the important job of running your business, secure in the knowledge your online activity isn’t going to cause you any heartache.