Don't ban Facebook, pleads union

The Trades Union Congress has urged employers to allow staff to continue to access social networking sites (such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo) at work, arguing that a total ban is an overreaction. Approximately 50% of companies block staff access to social networking sites because of the possible impact on productivity and security. "Simply cracking down on the use of new web tools like Facebook is not a sensible solution to a problem which is only going to get bigger. It is unreasonable for employers to try to stop staff from having a life outside work, just because they cannot get their heads around the technology. Better to invest a little time in working out sensible conduct guidelines so that there do not need to be any nasty surprises for staff or employers," said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

News source: vnunet

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How about each employer can make up their own mind?

Employees should never, ever expect their activities on corporate machines to be private and should not be surprised if they learn that their messages or Internet activity are being monitored. However, that said, you also have to consider the cost of implementing and maintaining that sort of monitoring or filtering. Sometimes the cost does not justify the control, especially if your employees are trustworthy and do not abuse their privileges.

At the end of the day it comes down to employee productivity and each employer has their own perspective. Some employees need to have their access controlled or monitored to ensure productivity while others see it as a benefit and don't risk losing it by abusing it.

Those of you who say use a proxy, we have Packet shaping software, ISA Server and a couple other hardware systems that actually inspect the packets and look for stuff that still souldn't be there... good monitoring can prevent ANY proxy out there... unless you encrypt the packets somehow... (Outside of SSH/SSL which we can still inspect and filter)

work time is work time.
Each company should enforce their regulations themselves, not by an outside force.

That having been said, I think some workers are internet addicts and do waste alot of time online when they should be working. That is, after all what they're being paid for.

i don't really see the big issue, i am posting this from work. a company should be able to trust their employees to carry out their tasks during the day and so long as the work gets done who cares.

at my place of work, there is no Internet filtering at all, and i, nor does anyone else spend all day surfing pointless sites... yes i check them from time to time, usually while i am waiting for things to run/compile/load/open etc etc

in my opinion, a place of work should not be enforced with an iron rod, as content employees are more productive anyway. The ability for me to carry out personal things at work is a fantastic boon for me as it means i can get them out of the way and focus on working

on the flip side of this however, if someone is going to waste their time.. they will do it anyway whether its on facebook, myspace, or going for a walk around the office

It's not a thread to surf the web for a while but when you spend many hours at day in a specific website then it is a real deal.

How you can determine which webpage must be banned?. Simple, just track the webpage visited and check the top 10, if in the top 10 is a newspaper web, a corporative web, a search web or a worthy web then it's not a trouble but if you find in the top 10 are filled with useless sites like facebook,myspace webmessenger, 4chan and such...

I also don't like much of facebook, or hi5 or whatever other sites may exist.

BUT, unlike most of the people that commented I think it is an overreaction if you consider the employees as humans and not machines. What's next? Noboby outside work can call you? You can't talk to your co-workers unless it is work related? Sure, some people tend to abuse, but if the company has the means to prove that, they can fire him/her if it's a recurring issue.

I don't see it counter-productive if used to relieve some stress, and by a reasonable amount of time. Of course, the management has to talk that over with the employees and work the sensible conduct guidelines, as the article shows. It may also help to maintain good relationships among people inside the company.

Frank said,
If the company has good filtering software it blocks most of those as well.

Not to mention using an outside proxy to circumvent the filters is at the very least a disciplinary offense if not a sackable one at most workplaces.

I had to fire an employee due to his constant use of myspace during work. He even tried to deny it at one point, but must not have remembered that his blogs and bulletins were timestamped and multiple other employees were on his friends list...It seems some people are just obsessed

Well for most of my clients i will not waste my time tracking new sites to block unless it breaks the 500mb a month mark. If there people going to these places and it adds up to a CD worth of content on our ISA servers those sites are flaged if there new to the pool if they hit this level of use.

Yeah, I would say that allowing Myspace at work could be quite the security issue with how many people are on Myspace and websites inserting code into their profile for their "layouts."

It is unreasonable for employers to try to stop staff from having a life outside work, just because they cannot get their heads around the technology.

How are they stopping them from having a life outside work? .... they could use it outside of work.

that statement just goes to show that person hasn't the foggiest clue of what they're arguing.

Facebook shouldn't be allowed at work. So many people at my work waste time on it including my bosses!

That being said i'm one of 4 people who DOESNT even have a facebook at work

It makes perfect sense to block websites and chatting on computers at work. You are not getting payed to surf Facebook. You are getting payed to do your work.

Zentox said,
It makes perfect sense to block websites and chatting on computers at work. You are not getting payed to surf Facebook. You are getting payed to do your work.

That's exactly it.

Why would you be surfing the internet during work?

So you think you should use the company's computer AND internet while you are on break? Plus you have to think about the admin costs for them to allow you to do that. Do you go to break the exact same time every day? Does everyone in your office go to break at the same time everyday?

I can understand why most companies block MySpace. It isn't just a productivity issue but also a security issue.

Frank said,
So you think you should use the company's computer AND internet while you are on break? Plus you have to think about the admin costs for them to allow you to do that. Do you go to break the exact same time every day? Does everyone in your office go to break at the same time everyday?

I can understand why most companies block MySpace. It isn't just a productivity issue but also a security issue.

You could do like what we do at our office. We have a separate "break" computer with its own (cheaper) internet connection and its not on the company network. Employees are free to use it on their breaks and nothing is blocked on it. If they screw it up, we can easily swap in some other machine without having to worry about saving/transferring important data because they shouldn't be storing any on that computer.

They block all those sites and Neowin at my work its a cost thing they are paying heaps for the internet connection as they host the company website in-house so all that traffic has to come in and out its getting quite annoying anything you visit that’s not work is more than likely to end up blocked the next day.