54% of companies ban social networking sites

News reported on the Wired blog 'Epicenter' warns office workers to check their employment contract or workplace rules before logging into Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking website.

According to Epicenter, a recent study commissioned by Robert Half Technology found that 54% of US companies have banned any use of social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn whilst working on the job. The study, released October 9, also indicated that 19 percent of companies allow social networking only for business purposes, while 16 percent allow limited personal use.

Unsurprisingly, productivity is the core issue raised when it comes to blocking social networking sites. In July, Nucleus Research reported that companies who allowed employees to use social networking sites also had a drop of 1.5 percent in workplace productivity.

"Using social networking sites may divert employees' attention away from more pressing priorities, so it's understandable that some companies limit access," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement.

Nucleus also indicated employees who use social networking sites while working do so up to 2 hours a day. When asked if they are using these sites for business purposes, 87% admitted they weren't, and instead were using social networking for personal reasons.

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I am a network admin we use websense in a pretty tight config, basically if it isnt on a whitelist then you cant go there. We only allow a handful of sites BBC news / met office etc... the reason for this is not just productivity of individual staff members. We operate sites around the country that are in the middle of nowhere so we have to rely on limited broadband VPN so users spending time on sites such as youtube slow down our entire network operation so the non-productive time of just a few members of staff has an impact on others as well.

Also people assume that we pay the standard 40 pounds a month for the internet connection we have but we actually pay 45,000 pounds a year so it is a precious and rather expensive resource that shouldnt be wasted.

Should be 100%.

When you are working it is a professional environment.

Social networking sites and playing games are personal and something that should be done in your time.

Draganta2000 said,
There are debates that show that going on these sites during your company's time actually make you more productive at work.



I can pass on emails from NHS, DWP, Argos and various schools to name a few, where the mofo's that work there put in the wrong information and send it to my email inbox.

I have a unique email address with live and I get all sorts of invites and seriously secret information very personal because the employee's are too busy adding my email address to their social network friends list.

Usually instead of blahblah.s or blahblah.x they send it to blahblah.

I have phond them and they tell me they just made a mistake.

these morongs have sent copious amounts of ts information.

Luckily for them I shred it, of course after complaining to their boss.

I've been in companies that had zero tolerance policy and in companies that did not block anything.

From my own experience it is not effective at all.

Blocking some sites like Facebook is not a bad idea. But don't expect this to magically make the people inside your cie motivated.

If a lot of people inside a cie spend many hours a week on forums or social networks it means there's a problem elsewhere inside this cie. Blocking such web sites will not correct this problem.

Would have thought it would be higher, it's not as though it's normally a work related activity. I'd imagine most companies would frown on any personal browsing during work hours, Facebook being included but not mentioned specifically.

actually yes there is they can simply ban the use of cell phones in the work place and make it a fireable offence or they can do what some prisons do and use signal blocking devices within the office

Or they could just be actually good managers and try to keep their workers motivated and interested in the work they are doing ...

You can't put people in a 8x8 closed and boring brown square and expect them to perform 40 hours a week without any social interaction with their co-workers.

Arkos Reed said,
ha, the joys of websense... user can try all they want, they won't be able to use social networking sites where I work :p
oh wow a power crazed admin, even more joy. heh

Yes, but websense can be circumvented rather easily. I set up a proxy on my own server, and it slipped past websense's sniffer, because I didn't include the word "proxy" anywhere in it. With my proxy I can access any website from any computer, regardless of OS or browser. And if I really want to get fancy I can install Tor and access sites a lot faster, and YouTube videos will work as well. Keep in mind that I'm just a 16 year-old with a bit of free time.

meh i go on it at work, still gets my works done though! :)

don't really see the point in 'banning' it, if you can't trust your employees to do their job then i think there is a bigger problem

It's not really about trust but more about temptation. As a manager, I trust my guys but know if I give them an opportunity to do something and they really want to - THEY WILL. No doubt about that.

BGM said,
meh i go on it at work, still gets my works done though! :)

don't really see the point in 'banning' it, if you can't trust your employees to do their job then i think there is a bigger problem

Yeah I agree. I have a guy at my workplace who was on it 24/7 even after being given a written warning and he's still there.
I block them now.

Trouble is, I think as people who spend a lot of time behind the computer we are able to say such things. At the end of the day, I wouldn't go on a social network site when I was at work, thats what 6pm onwards is for. The bans are more in place for the the managers that like to look important by playing solitaire while claiming that they're working on the budget, and boy is there plenty of them!

Beastage said,
Just 54%? I expected more in the area of 95%.

We didn't ban it until a few people got on it ... 95% of their day. Now they just use their phones and talk all day. It's kind of irritating that some people get to sit around and talk and "be bored" at work (status update they posted while at work) when there's thousands of things they could be doing, yet are so lazy to do. I got on it 30 seconds every 1-3 hours to check it ... now it's banned because of these kids.

Don't bring in interviewees though ... it scares these people into a tizzy!

Beastage said,
Just 54%? I expected more in the area of 95%.

Keep in mind that they said 54% of US companies.... That doesn't mean 54% of large companies with well managed networks. There are a lot of small offices with no filtering at all.