The words Productivity and Internet have been fit together in many different sentences, and usually in the sense that the Internet is a Productivity-killer. Take Facebook, for example; there are many arguments stating that Facebook is costing companies billions of dollars because employees are spending too much time on the social network while at work. Of course, Facebook (and the other social networks) are practically mandatory for businesses who want to market themselves. Other companies are clamoring that personal social media use greatly improves productivity and employee moral.
So which is it? Some South Florida companies spend a lot of money to block all the popular ‘time-waster’ sites on the internet under the pretense that if they didn’t, employees would cost the company a lot of money.
The answer relies in part on your employees, but studies have shown that a little cognitive-free internet usage goes a long way at keeping employees sharp and productive. Of course, if you have employees that spend the majority of their day watching YouTube and playing Farmville, that shouldn’t be tolerated; but if your employees are otherwise productive, studies say a little distraction goes a long way. Listening to streaming music online or taking a break to check Twitter can clear the mind and help an employee focus.
With that said, companies should invest in a good security solution (one that runs on the network, not your end-users’ PCs) to limit the type of content that goes through. Blocking adult content (as well as malware and other internet threats) will prevent expensive consequences that jeopardize more than just productivity. Every so often, we have a business owner come to us seeking a solution to completely monitor their employees every move online. While that technology is readily available, that is more of a draconian measure that can cause productive, valuable employees to feel uncomfortable. This topic is certainly full of fine-lines.
A small or midsized business should definitely have a social media policy in place to outline guidelines of communicating online to protect your company brand, integrity, and your clients. That said, a small business should never dismiss social media for the marketing and communication benefits.
What about your company? Do you have strict policies in place to keep employees from using the internet personally, or do you promote personal social media usage? Leave us a comment!