Social Enterprise

Poll: Does your company block social media sites?

Answer this one-question poll to let us know whether your organization's IT department blocks employees from using social networking sites.

TechRepublic has published a number of posts related to employees' use of social media sites at work. Several topics covered include why you should not block social networking sites, how to block those sites if you decide to do so, and what to include in your social networking policy.

One related post that really got our members talking was Toby Wolpe's report of a survey that found "Access to social networks via mobile devices gives staff a 'virtual co-presence' with direct benefits for the business in which they work...". Many members who posted in the discussion questioned whether using social networks at work really could boost productivity.

We would like to hear from you about whether your company blocks social media sites. Then, in the comments, please tell us why or why not.

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About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

11 comments
jnkmail
jnkmail

There was a time that Internet access was not needed and people used computers to work. Unfortunately the big players, in an effort to lock in software sales, have moved to the concept that you must create cloud environments which means that offices now must provide Internet access to essential cloud based SAS and therefore must also waste time either trying to evaluate whether the Facebook users are still productive or not. It should not be a requirement that we assess employee output to decide whether or not to allow social media. It should not be a requirement that we waste IT money finding ways to block websites such as FACEBOOK that are constantly creating new backdoors so that employees can steal time and money from the businesses that pay them. Work is work. Playing at work is theft. Facebook is playing at work.

jnkmail
jnkmail

I am outside contract IT staff for a medical clinic and a law office. Each office has between 20 and 50 employees. There is no positive application for social media in these environments. Before blocking social media my firewall logs were difficult to read. There was so much extraneous activity that it was difficult to see anything useful. We were constantly getting trojans on one of the networks. After blocking the firewall stats now show antivirus updates as the most frequent web access with a government website that hosts the forms we use for filing and updating cases being the 2nd. Before blocking these essential business tools did not rate in the top 35 most frequent web accesses. People under the age of 30 do not know how to control their impulses and waste hours a day like a drug addict who takes just one more dose before going to work and never gets to work. These people had some type of impression that just a quick look at a facebook page 100 times per day did not consume time. The office is now back to a productive environment. It was a time wasting nursery school environment before blocking social websites.

canewshound
canewshound

Why do you feel entitled to order games on sale at work! You are supposed to be working, not watching the clock for the next sale. You're fired in my shop. Game sites and social media blocked, too much reputation risk to the company (financial industry) that is heavily audited and regulated. Young and in your 20's, you don't know it all, not even close to knowing the business and legal restrictions. Punks do not rule.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I am sure if he could find a way to document a reason and get approval from 50 senior managers. He would do it. In the mean time, the IT people (the ones that do work) opened up a bunch of sites for us, including Steam. Just so we could buy games while we are at work so we don't miss the hourly specials. The head of IT hasn't a clue :p

Pete6677
Pete6677

The emphasis should be on making sure employees are productively contributing to the business. Judge them by outcomes, not by time spent at their desk or time spent on Facebook. Obviously if someone is spending a lot of time on Facebook and they are behind on their work, crack down on them. But if their stuff is getting done just fine, then don't bug them. Lazy workers will always find ways to slack. Fire the lazy ones, and don't burden the good workers with stupid rules.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

but I have to keep constant vigilance over the use of them on "company time". The old saying is still true..."Give an inch, they will take a mile". The difficult part in my situation is that we are a very small business, family owned, employees are family and close friends, and located in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone else. So, my normal tact is to ask them to put themselves in my shoes..."Would you pay ME for the time you spend goofing off on 'insert social media here'?" That usually gets them back to at least a resemblance of "gainful productivity"!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"People under the age of 30 do not know how to control their impulses and waste hours a day..." Here's a news flash: many people over 30 don't know how to either.

frylock
frylock

the company didn't expect me to work off hours, using my own PC and network. I wonder how they'd feel if I said my home firewall blocks access to their site because it's not related to my home life? Then again, my company just started blocking MSDN, so /shrug

jnkmail
jnkmail

Yes, I think you have a point there. As the job market shrinks I believe that creating a new position of SOCIAL MEDIA USE EVALUATION CONSULTANT or OFFICER is the answer to this problem. We should give employees as many toys as we can fit into the office then hire people to evaluate how many can successfully play with the toys and still get work done. TIME WASTED IS TIME WASTED AND IT NEVER COMES BACK. THE FACT THAT I HIRE A PERSON BECAUSE THAT PERSON IS EFFICIENT DOES NOT ENTITLE THAT PERSON TO WASTE TIME and make up for it by being better at doing some job than another person. Maybe I hired the efficient person so that I can get rid of those who are not as capable. Now, if that efficient person decides to work at the level of the lowest person's efficiency and use extra time for personal use while being paid, what was gained by hiring someone who will eventually disrupt the office? If the fast worker sneaks in Facebook time then the less capable will feel slighted and want to join the fun. Social media is a disease that kills business productivity. Running a business like a nursery school is bad business. "If you finish this much work you can play on Facebook."

jnkmail
jnkmail

It is a shame that you have to fear your employees and let them shape the job into a mix of personal playtime and actual work.