July 29, 2007 |
Isn't the idea behind Facebook to make your social life more vibrant and increase your productivity? Apparently, big business begs to differ, as the UK-based Telegraph has reported that “more than two thirds of employers are banning or restricting the use of Facebook and similar sites over fears that staff are wasting time on them when they should be working.”
This comes after the news that Australia-based Telstra has banned Facebook access to its 49,000 employees.
The problem with workplace use of social sites like Facebook is one that 70% of British businesses are trying to curtail by banning the site from being accessed through company servers. Several companies have also warned their employees that trying to access the site during office hours is strictly prohibited.
The location of this news is not too surprising, considering that London is now the city with the most Facebook users in the world, with more than 826,000 people in the city registered on the site.
A recent study on the site found that, on average, British users spend 191 minutes a month on Facebook, where users primarily “message, 'poke' and check up on friends, colleagues, and often exes, compulsively.” Some even admitted being addicted to the service, although I am not quite sure how you determine addiction. Perhaps, these 10 signs could provide a clue?
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police stated that “access to some websites is blocked as there is no business need for employees to access them. Facebook is one of those sites. Access to blocked sites is granted when required for business needs only.”
What exactly would qualify as a business need to use Facebook?
Some of the companies, such as British Gas, limit access in the actual workplace but provide employees with the resources and free time to surf as they please.
“Like most other large companies we have a firewall which stops things like spam and porn and Facebook is caught up in that. We do have special rest areas (company cafes) where people can go to and do whatever they like in terms of surfing the net,” said a British Gas spokesperson.
With companies now monitoring their employees web use, it was only a matter of time before we began seeing corporate solutions, such as this, to cut down on personal use of company time.
I am not sure, however, that companies are making all the right moves. Depending on the field of expertise, I believe that some people's jobs could benefit from the use of social networks. Those who have to keep in contact with clients could greatly benefit from a social network such as Facebook, which provides a central place to communicate and stay organized. Did I mention that it could be a breeding ground for prospective clients and customers with a user base of 30 million active users?
Leave your comments and let me know what you think. Should Facebook be banned in the workplace?