It seems for every website that is beneficial to the workplace, there is another that is certainly the opposite. Naturally, it is these sites that your employees would most likely want to visit if left to their own devices.
Sometimes, the best course of action is to remove the temptation and block these websites.
Before considering the blocking of any navigation online, ActiveCo’s opinion is for you to consider your company culture. Is your atmosphere fairly laid back? Do people eat at their desk? Are they able to access your WiFi network on their smartphones, for casual use? The impact of already having your social media policy in place, for example, sets the standard for your expectations. The impact of implementing (aka – changing) your social media policy while your team are already used to having access may cause some animosity at your expense.
Block Websites from the Network
The most basic way to block your employees from accessing websites is to block these websites from the entire office network. To do so, you’ll need to have IT access your router and make the requisite changes. At ActiveCo, we have clients who allow full access to their team, and clients who insist these sites are restricted to all staff.
Of course, there are other options if you don’t want to fool around directly in your router’s settings. There are a few free extensions available that allow your employees to self-monitor, but this, of course, requires quite a bit of trust in your employees. Besides, if your employees are trustworthy enough to monitor their own Internet use, you probably don’t need to worry about blocking certain websites, do you?
You should also consider why your employees are becoming distracted at work, in the first place. One study has shown that while blocking websites did help previously distracted employees focus better and be more productive (especially those whose work suffered due to social media use), these employees were also considerably more stressed (due to the loss of what they felt was their time to “decompress” online). Furthermore, this same study also indicated that some employees would substitute their online distractions with other activities that sometimes brought them out of the office on breaks (not unlike how non-smokers get frustrated when smokers are allowed additional breaks).
There is also the fact that a blanket ban may not be completely beneficial to your business, either, especially where some of your client outreach is concerned. Social media outlets have proven their worth as a business tool, so you may not want to completely block everyone from its use. Give us a call at (604) 425-3433 so we can discuss some of your options to resolve this.