It was with great sadness and much grumbling that we accepted that there would be an office-wide network block on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and other similar sites this morning. Bosses everywhere seem to be supportive of this move. It makes employees more productive and efficient, thereby generating more income – or so they think. In some ways, it may be true – restricting access to networking sites means that less time is spent on things other than work. And yet, in the overarching view of things, that may not necessarily ring true for the following reasons:
Rest spurs productivity
The thing is distractions can be a good thing. Occasional access to sites like Facebook provide employees with an avenue to de-stress. Focusing for too long on the same problem tires the mind and slows results. Taking a short breather in between writing reports, crunching numbers and problem solving allows the brain to relax and come up with even more creative solutions and pushes up productivity. Who wouldn’t want that?
Boost employee morale
Silly as it sounds, employees grumble about their employers over silly things. Yes, including “non-essential” things like blocking Facebook. It may not seem much, but it is and can be construed as an indication of the lack of trust that employers have for their employees. Whilst some employees may need tabs and periodical checks to ensure that they do not waste excessive time on unessential internet surfing, a majority of workers appreciate the freedom to structure their time according to their working styles. And they’ll brag about you for being a good boss. And don’t forget – happy employees are productive employees. As long as they deliver as expected, why nitpick on how they do it?
Fosters closer relationships
Teams work best when the team members are close enough to trust and depend on each other. Networking sites create an informal environment that helps to foster closer relationships and understanding amongst colleagues. Knowing what your cubicle partner or the guy across the corridor is doing for the evening may not be important in the grand scheme of things, but knowing that one’s team mates (especially the scarily goal-oriented ones) have a life outside of work helps one to relate with them better.
Window to the outside world
Networking sites are just that – a face presented to the outside world. Subtly encouraging employees to use Facebook as a means to represent the company in a good light might improve company performance and help gain sales in the long run. Heck, creating a Facebook profile for the company may even be the cheapest way of advertising ever.