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Employee Internet Surfing: Do You Care?

A co-worker recently pointed me to a very interesting blog post by Phil Johnson, president of PJA Advertising, who writes on Ad Age’s “Small Agency Diary” that his office recently renovated and changed from a closed-office environment to a a completely open floor plan with no private offices, with the goal of creating a truly collaborative work space.

With this, of course, came a bit of a new dilemma: With no doors and no high cubicle walls, everyone could suddenly see what everyone else was doing on the computer.  Shoe shopping, twittering, gawking at Facebook photos — the works. So Phil came up with a very clear policy on employees’ Internet usage at work, and shared it with his employees.

The statement? I don’t care what you do on the Internet.

It may seem bold, but he explains his reasoning in this post. And I have to say, he has some great points.

In contrast, Helen A.S. Popkin stresses in a recent MSNBC post that “the Internet is not your BFF,” relating the recent story of a would-be Cisco employee who tweeted post-interview:

Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.

A Cisco employee caught wind of her tweet and responded on twitter with:

Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.

Pretty sure that ruined her chances at scoring the job.

There are two sides to Internet usage at work, and there are people on both sides of the camp. However, as Phil gets at in his blog post, employers are supposed to be encouraging employees to think in terms of technological innovation and work to mesh their offline and online lives for greater creativity — and productivity. Yet, many of these same employers hypocritically limit their employees’ Internet usage, instead of encouraging it and seeing its positive aspects.

The way I see it, it comes down to mutual respect. Give your employees the opportunity to blend their personal and work lives, and realize that although they may be shopping for that last-minute birthday gift at work, they are also likely responding to work e-mail at home and taking care of business matters on their off-hours. Accept and embrace the merging of these worlds — because with or without you, it is an inevitability.

What are your thoughts? Are you in the camp that promotes your employees’ inevitable Internet usage, and gets the benefits that come with that usage? Or are you in the camp that thinks personal Internet usage is strictly for off-business hours, and personal and business lives must be kept separate?

Agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your views.

Amy K. McDonnell

About Amy K. McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the editorial manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
58 comments
Talisman
Talisman

Oh and give them lots of warning before you switch on such a system, so that only the really stupid ones (e.g. the ones who shouldn't be working for you anyway) get caught.

Talisman
Talisman

Easy - trust your employees, instal some self-policing software such as CryptaVault, sit back and let the stupid ones get themselves fired while the responsible ones spend a reasonable amount of time each day on non-work sites.

It ain't rocket science

Talisman
Talisman

Easy - trust your employees, instal some self-policing software such as CryptaVault, sit back and let the stupid ones get themselves fired while the responsible ones spend a reasonable amount of time each day on non-work sites.

It ain't rocket science

Joey Boy
Joey Boy

If you can't trust your employees then you have other issues with the employee that simple internet surfing. Build a team.

Joey Boy
Joey Boy

If you can't trust your employees then you have other issues with the employee that simple internet surfing. Build a team.

Mike Guerrero
Mike Guerrero

What about the legal implications?? Is anyone living in my reality?
Not every individual has the ability to use common sense when viewing sites. What if someone happens to be walking by and find what they are watching or listening to offensive or hostile? Now you have a big problem on your hands if you as a company have a policy that allows the viewing of non-business related sites.
The answer is NO. Take your i-phone or personal laptop to lunch and surf the web all you want on your own time and off the company premises

Mike Guerrero
Mike Guerrero

What about the legal implications?? Is anyone living in my reality?
Not every individual has the ability to use common sense when viewing sites. What if someone happens to be walking by and find what they are watching or listening to offensive or hostile? Now you have a big problem on your hands if you as a company have a policy that allows the viewing of non-business related sites.
The answer is NO. Take your i-phone or personal laptop to lunch and surf the web all you want on your own time and off the company premises

DJ a person in IT.
DJ a person in IT.

As a person who does deal with IT all day and every day, I would prefer people to access the internet to learn, not to play games, but to research information. I applaud employers who allow the employees to lean, and have the ability to access the internet for required information for their job.

I have read everyone’s comments here and also was applaud by some of them. Without the internet today most people especially employees in my field (which is ever changing) access the net to deal with related issues 90% of the time. Without this information we would not know about issues that consistently rise and how to fix the issue. If Cisco releases a new IOS for the catalyst 3800 series switch I want to know about it, I want to know what we can benefit from this update, will it fix an issue that we have or is it an update with new commands only.

As for the comments about youtube in here. Here is a basic test look up on how to build a PC, install dual boot operating systems with Linux and Windows and have them access each other. Yes this can be found on youtube. Where some people can simply read instructions others are also visual learners, don’t forget that. So don’t be so quick to judge at this point.

As for the comments about viruses. A virus can be also sent internal this means that the person or individual does not have to be on the internet at all to get a virus. You can get a virus from anywhere regardless, most targeted sites are CNN.com, Yahoo, Google, MSNBC ect... You can be checking the news and a misalaneous script can access your PC without you knowing it. This does happen more often then you may think. And the most often that do get the virus are the nay Sayers of the internet they are the ones that are the most common that I have seen get a virus and not try or even attempt to protect themselves in any way, which is sad really when it comes down to the internet people show other on how they can protect themselves from viruses to brute force attacks.

DJ a person in IT.
DJ a person in IT.

As a person who does deal with IT all day and every day, I would prefer people to access the internet to learn, not to play games, but to research information. I applaud employers who allow the employees to lean, and have the ability to access the internet for required information for their job.

I have read everyone’s comments here and also was applaud by some of them. Without the internet today most people especially employees in my field (which is ever changing) access the net to deal with related issues 90% of the time. Without this information we would not know about issues that consistently rise and how to fix the issue. If Cisco releases a new IOS for the catalyst 3800 series switch I want to know about it, I want to know what we can benefit from this update, will it fix an issue that we have or is it an update with new commands only.

As for the comments about youtube in here. Here is a basic test look up on how to build a PC, install dual boot operating systems with Linux and Windows and have them access each other. Yes this can be found on youtube. Where some people can simply read instructions others are also visual learners, don’t forget that. So don’t be so quick to judge at this point.

As for the comments about viruses. A virus can be also sent internal this means that the person or individual does not have to be on the internet at all to get a virus. You can get a virus from anywhere regardless, most targeted sites are CNN.com, Yahoo, Google, MSNBC ect... You can be checking the news and a misalaneous script can access your PC without you knowing it. This does happen more often then you may think. And the most often that do get the virus are the nay Sayers of the internet they are the ones that are the most common that I have seen get a virus and not try or even attempt to protect themselves in any way, which is sad really when it comes down to the internet people show other on how they can protect themselves from viruses to brute force attacks.

SA
SA

The open floor plan and total lack of computer privacy is probably an important factor here. If you have a policy of not caring what people do on the internet, and then give them private cubicles, they are probably going to spend more time surfing than they would in an environment where their surfing habits are on display for everyone to see. If someone starts to not pull their fair share of the load due to too much time online, everyone is going to know about it right away.

SA
SA

The open floor plan and total lack of computer privacy is probably an important factor here. If you have a policy of not caring what people do on the internet, and then give them private cubicles, they are probably going to spend more time surfing than they would in an environment where their surfing habits are on display for everyone to see. If someone starts to not pull their fair share of the load due to too much time online, everyone is going to know about it right away.

Lori
Lori

I work alone in my home office- I have an HP laptop next to my work computer- this allows me to surf the net and watch the news and not have to minimize the spreadsheets on my work computer.

A Few years ago I went to work for a Social service agency in Indiana and for two years ran a one person office from 2005-2007. I was thrilled to work alone... After a few months of surfing on my work computer - I kept thinking what more could I do?? I had the idea to get a router and bring in my laptop just in case security hardware was installed on my work computer. I could IM friends and watch TV on the computer if I wished. Also When clients would come in I would pick up my laptop- leave my desk and sit at the conference tables and surf or IM while clients were engaged in their various activities.

I had complete control of my environment- My desk was at the front of one large room, the entryway was a door with glass from floor to ceiling which was the front of my one room office. If my supervisor drove up ( I had a full view of the parking lot) I could close down and put my laptop and cam away- easy.

This is how I learned to use the internet and type so quickly...Without my internet and surfing I would have been miserable at work. In the future I do hope employers will allow internet usage-- thus far every agency I have worked for has the policy that you can't even open you email at work. It is up to us to rise to the challenge and try to get away with it! Thanks this was a fun topic. L

Lori
Lori

I work alone in my home office- I have an HP laptop next to my work computer- this allows me to surf the net and watch the news and not have to minimize the spreadsheets on my work computer.

A Few years ago I went to work for a Social service agency in Indiana and for two years ran a one person office from 2005-2007. I was thrilled to work alone... After a few months of surfing on my work computer - I kept thinking what more could I do?? I had the idea to get a router and bring in my laptop just in case security hardware was installed on my work computer. I could IM friends and watch TV on the computer if I wished. Also When clients would come in I would pick up my laptop- leave my desk and sit at the conference tables and surf or IM while clients were engaged in their various activities.

I had complete control of my environment- My desk was at the front of one large room, the entryway was a door with glass from floor to ceiling which was the front of my one room office. If my supervisor drove up ( I had a full view of the parking lot) I could close down and put my laptop and cam away- easy.

This is how I learned to use the internet and type so quickly...Without my internet and surfing I would have been miserable at work. In the future I do hope employers will allow internet usage-- thus far every agency I have worked for has the policy that you can't even open you email at work. It is up to us to rise to the challenge and try to get away with it! Thanks this was a fun topic. L

HR Lady
HR Lady

Relevant and timely. We had this same discussion end of 2008. If you have employees, you can't ignore this topic any longer.

HR Lady
HR Lady

Relevant and timely. We had this same discussion end of 2008. If you have employees, you can't ignore this topic any longer.

HRC
HRC

The Internet is a good resource/tool for any individual. An individual needs to respect their time in their company. It should be used not abused that's when its bad.

HRC
HRC

The Internet is a good resource/tool for any individual. An individual needs to respect their time in their company. It should be used not abused that's when its bad.

Howard Gittelman
Howard Gittelman

I can cleary see the benefit in having employees that are savy in internet useage that creatively utilize this skill set to offer their expertisel back to the business environment. As many bloggers have posted above, internet shopping, checking personal email and surfing the net does not constitute "computer competancy training" and is purely intended for personal entertainment and should not be done on company time. If an employee needs computer application training, employers are usually willing to invest in their education. There is, however, a far more damaging effect that this activity has on a business network which no one has really addressed. There is a significant expense associated with maintaining a computer network for business application. Every employee that accesses the internet for personal reasons puts the network and each workstation at risk for corruption from internet viruses and installation of applications on workstations that unecessarily compromise workstation functionality. The long term costs for maintaining a virus free and optimally functioning network is enormous and employers who chose to permit employees to utilize the busines environment for personal use should strongly consider the far reaching economic impact of their decision.

Howard Gittelman
Howard Gittelman

I can cleary see the benefit in having employees that are savy in internet useage that creatively utilize this skill set to offer their expertisel back to the business environment. As many bloggers have posted above, internet shopping, checking personal email and surfing the net does not constitute "computer competancy training" and is purely intended for personal entertainment and should not be done on company time. If an employee needs computer application training, employers are usually willing to invest in their education. There is, however, a far more damaging effect that this activity has on a business network which no one has really addressed. There is a significant expense associated with maintaining a computer network for business application. Every employee that accesses the internet for personal reasons puts the network and each workstation at risk for corruption from internet viruses and installation of applications on workstations that unecessarily compromise workstation functionality. The long term costs for maintaining a virus free and optimally functioning network is enormous and employers who chose to permit employees to utilize the busines environment for personal use should strongly consider the far reaching economic impact of their decision.

JB
JB

I think it all comes down to the morality of the person..and knowing enough to say when.

If you are going to sit on-line all day and not get any work done, then you are not the caliber of person that we want working for us. We belive if you hire good charcter people, you don't have to micro-manage.

JB
JB

I think it all comes down to the morality of the person..and knowing enough to say when.

If you are going to sit on-line all day and not get any work done, then you are not the caliber of person that we want working for us. We belive if you hire good charcter people, you don't have to micro-manage.

Heather
Heather

As a HR Manager as a profession, the use of internet for personal use 'breeds' discontentment, petty actions, and can expose a work place to opinions that are best left at home - since religious,political and a opinions of humor differ greatly. As a manager, I do not care what employees do with "free time" when they are on lunch, break or all the work is caught up. However, most of the web sites that people like to surf (facebook, Youtube) have been the source of many a bad virus and that is just not worth it for me as a manger to get a virus that might damage company information. There is a cause and effect with everything, folks. Think about what you are saying. Would you want to hire & pay someone to be completing a task at your house that might not get be done on time or damage your computer system or information by surfing on the web? I think not.

Heather
Heather

As a HR Manager as a profession, the use of internet for personal use 'breeds' discontentment, petty actions, and can expose a work place to opinions that are best left at home - since religious,political and a opinions of humor differ greatly. As a manager, I do not care what employees do with "free time" when they are on lunch, break or all the work is caught up. However, most of the web sites that people like to surf (facebook, Youtube) have been the source of many a bad virus and that is just not worth it for me as a manger to get a virus that might damage company information. There is a cause and effect with everything, folks. Think about what you are saying. Would you want to hire & pay someone to be completing a task at your house that might not get be done on time or damage your computer system or information by surfing on the web? I think not.

Eduardo
Eduardo

I think it should be reviewed on a case by case basis. Simple; where did most of us commenting on the article read it at, home or work? In my case, as a recruiter I'm constantly using time to source through social networks and job boards that wouldn't be able to access with no internet access.

Bryan
Bryan

I agree that internet usage at work should be allowed to a certain degree. For example, an employee that's paying bills and checking personal emails while at work. This is a harmless action and could lead to that employee being more productive because they don't have to stress about those issues (bills, etc.) later.
On the other hand, to allow employees to visit any pornographic websites would be an HR nightmare. The "I don’t care what you do on the Internet" policy and corporate attitude would leave the whole organization open to harassment lawsuits.
Also, if social websites like Facebook are used for work (networking, etc.), then they should be allowed. Otherwise, it should at least be limited. Some people live on those sites and would abuse such usage while at work.

- Bryan

Bryan
Bryan

I agree that internet usage at work should be allowed to a certain degree. For example, an employee that's paying bills and checking personal emails while at work. This is a harmless action and could lead to that employee being more productive because they don't have to stress about those issues (bills, etc.) later.
On the other hand, to allow employees to visit any pornographic websites would be an HR nightmare. The "I don’t care what you do on the Internet" policy and corporate attitude would leave the whole organization open to harassment lawsuits.
Also, if social websites like Facebook are used for work (networking, etc.), then they should be allowed. Otherwise, it should at least be limited. Some people live on those sites and would abuse such usage while at work.

- Bryan

Alex
Alex

Depends on the company and schedule, i.e. if the person works from home, etc. Yet, basically, when at work, we are paid for performaing our duties. You don't like your job and look for some entertainment to help with employee moral, change your job but do not make your employer responsible for your job choices. And, to make it perfectly clear - stop whining! Some things do not need to be complicated: we trade our skills for pay. Spending your time on non-productive activities in violation of company policies, is not fair. Don't like employer's policies? Start your own business.

Alex
Alex

Depends on the company and schedule, i.e. if the person works from home, etc. Yet, basically, when at work, we are paid for performaing our duties. You don't like your job and look for some entertainment to help with employee moral, change your job but do not make your employer responsible for your job choices. And, to make it perfectly clear - stop whining! Some things do not need to be complicated: we trade our skills for pay. Spending your time on non-productive activities in violation of company policies, is not fair. Don't like employer's policies? Start your own business.

Gina
Gina

I work at all hours and find it exceedingly difficult to manage my personal life because of the internet restrictions. I'm available by blackberry at home, so home should be able to email me at work. It should work both ways.

Kelly
Kelly

Granted, there are internet sources that fuel creativity and assist with the gathering of knowledge, but I can't see how shopping online, watching uTube vids, Twittering or Facebook socializing is productive. And that's what it comes down to, productivity...something the US workforce has somehow lost. So, the next time you are Tweeting at your desk, don't then ask why you were selected for your company's RIF. People (and managers) do watch their co-workers and take note of how time is spent. That translates into corporate value. On the extreme side, as a HR professional, I have had to dismiss more than one person for severe violations of corporate internet usage policiies and it probably started with that person watching some co-worker innocently surfing the net and thinking that if that person can spend their time doing that, the company won't notice if I'm checking out porn.

Kelly
Kelly

Granted, there are internet sources that fuel creativity and assist with the gathering of knowledge, but I can't see how shopping online, watching uTube vids, Twittering or Facebook socializing is productive. And that's what it comes down to, productivity...something the US workforce has somehow lost. So, the next time you are Tweeting at your desk, don't then ask why you were selected for your company's RIF. People (and managers) do watch their co-workers and take note of how time is spent. That translates into corporate value. On the extreme side, as a HR professional, I have had to dismiss more than one person for severe violations of corporate internet usage policiies and it probably started with that person watching some co-worker innocently surfing the net and thinking that if that person can spend their time doing that, the company won't notice if I'm checking out porn.

Brett
Brett

People will take the path of least resistance to get through their day. I have had staff members wait until the Doctor is seeing patients in the exam room, and then BAMM they are on MySpace,Facebook,Shopping, then when the Doc comes out of the room, back to work this can happen 30-40 times a day. I dont pay people NOT to work, in this Tough economy you cannot survive if you have employees wasting alot of their time. And if you say, Hey why is this not getting done? The internet surfers say, "I got too much to do, you expect too much, we need more people to help with the work load" DONT LET PEOPLE RUIN YOUR BUSINESS by NOT WORKING AND GETTING PAID FOR IT. Find people who find fulfillment with their work, not the internet, then you have a chance to make it in the real business world.

Brett
Brett

People will take the path of least resistance to get through their day. I have had staff members wait until the Doctor is seeing patients in the exam room, and then BAMM they are on MySpace,Facebook,Shopping, then when the Doc comes out of the room, back to work this can happen 30-40 times a day. I dont pay people NOT to work, in this Tough economy you cannot survive if you have employees wasting alot of their time. And if you say, Hey why is this not getting done? The internet surfers say, "I got too much to do, you expect too much, we need more people to help with the work load" DONT LET PEOPLE RUIN YOUR BUSINESS by NOT WORKING AND GETTING PAID FOR IT. Find people who find fulfillment with their work, not the internet, then you have a chance to make it in the real business world.

Brenda
Brenda

Productivity increases as employees' sense of well-being and freedom to be creative increases. However, there seems to have been a trend over the past couple of decades towards loosening restrictions and workplace policies. It begs the question: "How much of this slackening of accountability of the time one is being paid to do a job has contributed to the downward spiral in our economy?" Perhaps the bar is being lowered to our detriment.

Mark
Mark

Maybe I'm a little too Old-School, but when I was hired, I was employed to add value to a company, and in return they were to pay me. What value am I adding to my employer if I'm on facebook or myspace? Yes, the times, they are a changing, but most companies now compete on a global basis, and we need to work to maintain or regain our respective competitive advantages. Endorsing unlimited personal use of the internet just builds a slack enviromenment. Yes, we are all held responsible for performing a job, and some of us can accomplish our job in less than a full work week. What do we do with the remainder of the time? Surf the net, or work to bring ourselves and our organizations to the next level. Where are the next great innovations coming from if we're just wasting time on the net?

Mark
Mark

Maybe I'm a little too Old-School, but when I was hired, I was employed to add value to a company, and in return they were to pay me. What value am I adding to my employer if I'm on facebook or myspace? Yes, the times, they are a changing, but most companies now compete on a global basis, and we need to work to maintain or regain our respective competitive advantages. Endorsing unlimited personal use of the internet just builds a slack enviromenment. Yes, we are all held responsible for performing a job, and some of us can accomplish our job in less than a full work week. What do we do with the remainder of the time? Surf the net, or work to bring ourselves and our organizations to the next level. Where are the next great innovations coming from if we're just wasting time on the net?

Steve
Steve

I like Mr. Johnson's approach. The Internet can, indeed, be a valuable tool. I think most employees would use it for personal reasons on a limited basis. Yes, there are those out there that will try to spend the whole day online shopping, etc, but most IT departments now have monitoring software. Those employees can be dealt with in regards to having an unsatisfactory performance issue. With all this in mind, the employer still has to be conscience of laws and regulations such as EEO. There should still be policies prohibiting going on sites related to discriminatory groups or pornography. Also, sites like YouTube that take up bandwith can have a negative effect on the company's resources too. So in the end, I guess leaving it up to the employee's judgment on using the Net for personal reasons is good, but there should still be policies that serve as a guide.

Susan
Susan

Our company's policy says we employees are allowed to use the internet and personal email while on breaks or after working hours; however, when an employee was recently "caught" sending a humorous email and then 2 weeks later "caught" on Facebook, she was fired. Management claimed she wasn't on a break (there is no computer in the breakroom). All employees immediately stopped both of these activities and moral went very very low. Internet usage at work can be a natural break from the daily grind without ever leaving your desk. I intend to keep using the internet and email while at my desk. If they fire me, it's their loss.

Susan
Susan

Our company's policy says we employees are allowed to use the internet and personal email while on breaks or after working hours; however, when an employee was recently "caught" sending a humorous email and then 2 weeks later "caught" on Facebook, she was fired. Management claimed she wasn't on a break (there is no computer in the breakroom). All employees immediately stopped both of these activities and moral went very very low. Internet usage at work can be a natural break from the daily grind without ever leaving your desk. I intend to keep using the internet and email while at my desk. If they fire me, it's their loss.

David
David

I can see where they’re coming from. Use of the internet at work as a tool is certainly acceptable. However, if you’re going to use it for personal use, make sure you’re not getting paid for it. Would it be acceptable for an auto technician to stop what he’s doing, pull his car into the shop, put it on the rack (that the dealership owns and maintains) and work on his car… while he’s on the clock? I seriously doubt it. What about an Army soldier taking a rifle home for his weekend hunting trip? Work is just that… work. When you’re there, the employer is paying you for your time and efforts… not for you to “do your last minute shopping.” If you have extra time, then you’re underutilized. Overtime is meant to be temporary. If you’re always pulling 50 hours a week, then you’re understaffed or you’re not utilizing your resources fully. Perhaps you should lay off the FaceBook a little. In most industries there is absolutely no benefit in the use of FaceBook, MySpace, or other blog spots on company time. Besides, the company is paying for the internet. They have every right to say what you can and can’t use it for. The current generation is all about entitlement. People feel they’re entitled to a job and that an employer can’t tell them what to do. Get over yourself.

David
David

I can see where they’re coming from. Use of the internet at work as a tool is certainly acceptable. However, if you’re going to use it for personal use, make sure you’re not getting paid for it. Would it be acceptable for an auto technician to stop what he’s doing, pull his car into the shop, put it on the rack (that the dealership owns and maintains) and work on his car… while he’s on the clock? I seriously doubt it. What about an Army soldier taking a rifle home for his weekend hunting trip? Work is just that… work. When you’re there, the employer is paying you for your time and efforts… not for you to “do your last minute shopping.” If you have extra time, then you’re underutilized. Overtime is meant to be temporary. If you’re always pulling 50 hours a week, then you’re understaffed or you’re not utilizing your resources fully. Perhaps you should lay off the FaceBook a little. In most industries there is absolutely no benefit in the use of FaceBook, MySpace, or other blog spots on company time. Besides, the company is paying for the internet. They have every right to say what you can and can’t use it for. The current generation is all about entitlement. People feel they’re entitled to a job and that an employer can’t tell them what to do. Get over yourself.

Marlies
Marlies

It completely depends on the type of job they are suppose to be doing. In a creative environment, sales, marketing...I would encourage internet usuage, get out there find out whats new, etc. However, with my admin staff, it got completely out of hand. During season we allow as much OT as they can put in; however, I dont want to pay OT because they spend so much time reading emails, instant messaging, facebooking etc. that they cant get their workload during normal business hours. In that case it severly effects my bottom line. I dont restrict it completely, but I do watch out for abusers.

Marlies
Marlies

It completely depends on the type of job they are suppose to be doing. In a creative environment, sales, marketing...I would encourage internet usuage, get out there find out whats new, etc. However, with my admin staff, it got completely out of hand. During season we allow as much OT as they can put in; however, I dont want to pay OT because they spend so much time reading emails, instant messaging, facebooking etc. that they cant get their workload during normal business hours. In that case it severly effects my bottom line. I dont restrict it completely, but I do watch out for abusers.

Duane
Duane

Mr. Johnson is an enlightened manager and obviously knows how to put the the focus on what is important. The challenge for managers is to define what is expected from each employee and measure how well they accomplish this (constantly, not just annually). If the employee is giving the employer what they are being paid for, the manager does not need to micro-manage the employee's day.

OIG
OIG

Unless work related, or during breaks, lunch etc...excesssive "surfing" for entertainment purposes is stealing. You can intellectualize it all you want, but its no different than an employee propping up their feet on the desk and pulling out a gossip mag during the work day.
We have dismissed people for such flagrant disrespect of the firm and their fellow co-workers.

Dana
Dana

I agree that it should be left up to the individual company based on the work and the employees. However, if the work is done and the employees are those who are loyal, constantly work from home or their blackberry, and available when called, why wouldn't they be allowed to use the internet at work if necessary? we've found it to be very helpful in quick research to support questions by clients or development as well as a good way to let employees complete things they may not be able to do by the time the traditional workday is over.

Dana
Dana

I agree that it should be left up to the individual company based on the work and the employees. However, if the work is done and the employees are those who are loyal, constantly work from home or their blackberry, and available when called, why wouldn't they be allowed to use the internet at work if necessary? we've found it to be very helpful in quick research to support questions by clients or development as well as a good way to let employees complete things they may not be able to do by the time the traditional workday is over.

Barbara
Barbara

Our employees are not restricted in internet use in any way. It has not been a problem at all. Generally, if you respect people and treat them as adults you will gain more loyalty and willingness on their part to go the extra mile for you. There are exceptions to every rule and if their internet use is out of line then other areas are probably not up to par either.

Barbara
Barbara

Our employees are not restricted in internet use in any way. It has not been a problem at all. Generally, if you respect people and treat them as adults you will gain more loyalty and willingness on their part to go the extra mile for you. There are exceptions to every rule and if their internet use is out of line then other areas are probably not up to par either.

Darrell
Darrell

I agree with the article. Our natural urge with things like this is to manage by exception. I mean, there will always be those who abuse a situation like this and often time we put rules in place to curb the action of that one person while thus limiting the rights of the other 99 that do not abuse the system.

We are moving into a new world order at work. Onward....

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  1. [...] Surfing at work — Do you care? We brought up a subject that’s not bound to go away anytime soon — your employees’ Internet usage at work. The discussion got a bit heated, and what the comments really conveyed is that you all have a LOT of differing opinions on this. The world’s changing due to technology, and while some employers are recognizing those changes, others are shying away from them. What’s your take on it? [...]

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