Monday, August 16, 2010

Ban or No Ban

My company recently instituted partial ban of Internet access at workplace by blocking sites which were deemed ‘unproductive’. These included Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Photobucket, online games sites and P2P (peer-to-peer) sites.

Banning of Internet access at workplace is hardly new. Employees abusing company resources is a known fact. But is banning Internet access, or blocking of certain sites, a solution?

For a start, YouTube may not be as unproductive as some may think. Many product demonstrations are now on the popular video sharing site. Facebook, with the ubiquitous ‘Like’ button, is a great marketing tool. (Imagine that if you ‘like’ a product, all your 1,288 friends will be notified.) These sites, when put to good use, can be extremely beneficial to all businesses. And I don’t think it is wise for the management to tell us:

OK, now we have advertised on Facebook. We will lift the ban for one hour. All of you please go to ‘like’ our products.

The fact that my employer is in IT industry further complicates the matter. Just the other day, a co-worker of mine was doing a ‘stress test’ through the means of YouTube video-download and P2P movie-download.

Internet ban at workplace also has unwanted impacts in human resource development. Why, do you think, is Google so creative? This is because the Internet search giant gives considerable freedom to its staff.

So, should employers block access to those seemingly unproductive web sites? There are no hard-and-fast rules, but this is my suggestion to the management:

If you want your staff to be efficient, ban is an option.

If you want your staff to be creative, then do not ban.

P/S I may get a smart phone to circumvent the ban.


  1. HAHAHA! so cham one! nemind maybe jz for temporary right?? :)

  2. I guess it depends on the industry and the nature of work.

  3. Caroline
    Definitely hope this is temporary.

    My employer is in IT industry.

  4. employees shouldn't misuse it.

  5. No matter what, company has the right to ban without telling us. :D

  6. there are always loophole or workaround people can do behind..

  7. so instead of hard control and to spend effort for fire-fighting, might as well trust your employees that they will manage time efficiently..

  8. guess this is a win-win situation.. you want your staff to get exposed to creativity and latest technology, you gotta open up your thinking too..

  9. but then as for employees, should not abuse the freedom as well lor..

  10. I guess disallowing for the reason of unproductivity is a valid one.

  11. wenn, tekkaus
    Gotta agree with you.

    The problem is some of my co-workers watch video on YouTube openly.

    Mei Teng
    A valid reason, but may not be the best.

  12. I don't care about Facebook and Youtube much and I would never use P2P at work. That said, I often have to do a lot of research that can take me to blogs, personal websites and websites using flash. So far, I haven't worked in a place that banned such websites and I certainly wouldn't like it, it would slow me down.

  13. Gee! That's tough and it could stifle productivity generally esp when your company is in the IT industry. Employees on the other hand need to exercise some discipline and integrity. Putting human nature to the test, I suppose.

    Are employees in your company given a chance to feed back?

    Unfortunate that you may have to resort to getting a smartphone to go around this ban. But then again, it may turn out beneficial.

  14. Zhu
    I can still access blogs, LOL...

    Yes, employees are allowed to give feedback. Not sure what will turn out though...

  15. the NZ education bans a lot of sites for schools, understandable as kids go on them.

    I can't yahoo, but can email on school account.

    But I can blog. ye!!!!!LOL

  16. I am against the banning of anything but then again, I know many employees are abusing the internet access and are playing games and facebooking during office hours. I guess if I am the boss, i might probably enforce the ban too.

    Quick! Get an iPhone to circumvent the ban! Haha!

  17. Yes I agree, get an iPhone! No need to worry on ban.. worst case, you can even use your iphone as modem :)

  18. ann
    Can't yahoo? That's surprising.

    foongpc, witch
    OK, OK. Will consider iPhone.

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