Time to Filter Facebook?

Just after my post about The Facebook Productivity Sink Hole, the Internet monitoring company 8e6 Technologies sent me a note about their recent study. They surveyed 1000 businesses, 500 in the US and 500 in the UK, and found the problem crosses the pond faster than bad reality TV plots stolen by Hollywood.

No surprise finding employees spend far too much time on non-work surfing, especially social network sites like Facebook. Worse from a security angle, too many also connect to peer to peer file sharing sites, making your company network a possible storage location for illegal file downloads.

Slightly more employees in the US (55 to 52 percent) spend time during the workday on non-work surfing, including video downloads, streaming news and music, and, of course, multiple social network sites. This will be a tough problem to contain, since 72 percent of employees in the US and 80 percent in the UK feel they have an absolute right to full access to social networks and the like.

If you're in some areas of a small business, social networking is really business prospected. I talked to a sales person at the Atlanta ITEC show who told me has has to go to four different business networking group meetings every week as part of his job description.

I've never been in favor or draconian filters and blocked Internet access, because any company that expects employees to be on call after hours must let those employees handle some personal business, such as online shopping, during the work day. But employees spending over half the day surfing around for social network tidbits cost you money, expose your company to multiple security risks, and drag down other employees that see them waste that time.

Managers who use the “make the employees look busy” school of employee control will always have this type of problem. Managers who use the “here's what needs to be done and go do it” will get more work, better work, and have better morale among the workers.

How does your company handle the Facebook productivity sinkhole?

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