Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FB et al in the Office

It's more than a month now since we blocked facebook and youtube from our office network from 8:30 - 12 and 1:30 - 5:30.  I wonder how people here have reacted over it.

It's actually been debated since early 2009, whether to do just that or not.  The primary problem then was loss of productivity.  Restaurant City and Farmville (along with Plants vs Zombies) were grave dangers to work time.  Even before, non-stop chatting in YM was already an issue.  It seems staying largely unseen by the boss was enough temptation for quite a few.

By large, I resisted having a permanent ban on FB along with some other sites.  We want our people to choose the right thing, and be smart about stuff like this. FB and other sites can be good stress relievers after all. 

2009 Team building helped some with that regard.  After that, clear and blatant abuse were less common, although it was still much of a problem with people stationed  in unwatched, far away places.

2010 however brought even more important reasons to do something about it. High bandwidth streaming sites like Youtube was hurting our VPN and email.  Then sometimes, we find people fighting because of some status update commonly read wrong or hitting too close to the heart, or below the belt.  People here are getting their fun in FB at the expense of others, methinks.

(There's something ironic when people fight because of something said in Facebook.  It was supposed to help connect people.  But on those times, it was virtually helping connect punches between otherwise good friends.  People stopped talking straight.  FB was replacing normal human interaction.  Scary.)

One interim step I took was to temporarily disable web access to certain sites to specific computers that were found exceeding their "breaktime" quota.  But that's unnecessarily Big Brother for me. 

So we're now where we are.  In the mean time, they're off-limits during work hours.  Hello to shorter lunch time.


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