Companies Restricting Internet Access Shortsighted
Glenn Reynolds argues that the recent trend of companies trying to restrict Internet access to employees, who they fear are wasting hours of company time surfing, are likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.
Well-run companies look at outputs — how well people are doing their jobs — rather than simply trying to make sure that employees look busy. And given that U.S. economic performance over the past few years, as Internet usage has boomed, has been excellent, it’s hard to believe that this websurfing is really threatening productivity. Instead, I suspect, it’s threatening management’s sense of control. (After all, if they really cared about people wasting their time with computer technology, they’d ban PowerPoint, not Web-surfing.)
Further, he and Bill Quick note that EVDO and other technology will soon make it all but impossible for companies to restrict employee access.
And the more intrusive the policies seem, the harder it will be to attract bright, creative employees who are marketable elsewhere: Just the kind of people that companies ought to want to hire and to keep.
Quite right. Unfortunately, as Reynolds notes, the management techniques necessary for getting maximum productivity in a wired workplace are more difficult than the Big Brother method.