Why do so many enterprises block popular websites like YouTube and Facebook from their corporate network? It?s among the dumbest ideas that corporate IT departments do at workplaces. Do you really think that employees will work harder if those ?distracting? websites are blocked from their computers at the office? Can?t they just access them on their personal iPhones anyway? Duh.
Here are a few reasons that companies should just forget about blocking sites from corporate networks.
This Isn?t Syria
Blocking access to information is what Syria, North Korea, and other oppressive regimes do to their citizens. We don?t do that in the USA?well, actually, we do. In your office. Access to popular websites deemed to be time-sucks on productivity are blocked. Content in your emails is scanned. Your browser history is checked. And if you don?t follow the rules, you get fired.
The funny thing is that we accept this practice – willingly! If America is supposed to be so free, then why do we treat employees the same way oppressive, socialist countries treat their citizens?
One word: fear. Fear that employees will waste valuable time on silly websites instead of on important work. Fear that employees will visit offensive sites that might land the employer into a lawsuit.
Productive Employees Need Distractions
No one can work 8 productive hours straight staring at a computer terminal. Key word here is ?productive?. Sure, you can force people to sit in front of their computer monitor for 8 hours straight, but being productive in front of that monitor is another story. As an employer, when was the last time you worked 8 productive hours on something without taking a break, like checking your Facebook status, looking at a Google News feed, watching a funny YouTube video, or simply acting like you were busy when you were really just staring at your monitor?
The point here is that people need a break every now and then. They just do. And if they aren?t going to be able to do it with the monitor on their desk, they will find another outlet — their personal smartphone, gossip in the office break room…It?s human nature, so just accept it. There are literally dozens and dozens of articles and books written on the subject of productive workers needing breaks and distractions, so I?ll leave it at that.
Monitoring Employee?s Internet Access Is An Expensive Time-Suck
How many people in your IT department are dedicated to setting up and enforcing Internet access policies? How much money do you spend annually on software to manage this stuff? Do you really need to be allocating so many resources to this crazy 1984ish practice?
If You Treat Employees Like Adults, They Will Act Like Adults
Wow! What an enlightening thought! If you treat employees like adults, they will act like adults. It?s so obvious that it seems really silly to be writing this down, and yet many companies simply fail to do this. They treat their employees like second class citizens with no right to information that would be readily available anywhere else. In this day and age, where everyone is connected, all the time, it?s just plain dumb to block information from employees.
It?s time to rethink Internet access policies at enterprises. Employees will generally behave, and those that don?t, you get rid of. I am 100% certain that employees with full access to the Internet at work will be happier and thus more productive than those with limited access and with the Internet police watching their every move. Fear should not be driving these policies. Instead, common sense should be driving these policies. Like Ronald Reagan said in 1987, it?s time to tear down this (Internet access) wall.