Internet access at workplaces is restricted in most of the big & medium sized companies. They restrict blogs, social-networking, shopping sites, popular email sites (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo), forums, dating sites from being accessed while at work. Most companies do this as they think Internet access will affect productivity.
The question is – Does banning / restricting Internet really make Employees more productive ?
My personal opinion is – Absolutely Not !
Let us look at it from the company perspective:
First off, Employers have no legal obligation to provide you with Internet access, although we are now seeing that many countries like Finland & Estonia declaring broadband Internet as a fundamental right.
Opening up full access of Internet to employees is risky – classified data could be compromised through free email sites like Gmail, Yahoo where it is very easy to share data with anyone. Secondly, company network could get infected with virus if harmful file is downloaded / installed. Thirdly and most importantly loss of time and productivity due to time spent on internet to carry out non-work related activities. Offcourse, there are other risks as well but the 3 above are the most important reasons why Internet access is generally restricted.
Yes, I agree with the points mentioned above, but even with all these risks, I firmly believe that full Internet access will generally help company more than the harm it will cause. What I think company should do is – monitor the Internet access stringently and also gauge the productivity of its employees.
I think, in majority of cases internet is a big help to employees and in turn to its employers. Even if employee accesses Social Networking, online shopping sites etc, for little while through-out the day, I think their productivity increases and not decreases. Short breaks in work are known to rejuvenate and increase productivity.
According to a study Surfing the net at work for pleasure actually increases concentration levels and helps make a more productive workforce.
Having said this, there will be miniscule number of people who will abuse it and proper Internet monitoring could put an end to this as well.
P.S: This post is purely my point of view – I wanted to write about this for a long time, but did not get around doing it. I have not gone into detail as this post basically a question to readers to understand what do you feel? Am I the only one who thinks that workplace should provide full Internet access?