Employers approach employee internet usage in a variety of ways. Some employers simply provide a written policy stating their rules about internet usage via company computers. This puts the employees on an honor system, but one that can potentially be monitored by the company and enforced by disciplinary measures. Other employers are choosing to block certain types of sites completely, to assist their employees in avoiding the temptation. [via]
If you are considering blocking employee’s access to certain types of sites, which types should you consider?
Gambling – Gambling, regardless of whether it actually involves money or not, can be quite addicting to some people. You may be feeding that addiction if those sites are available to your employees.
Adult – This can be a big temptation for many employees. Loss of time is not your only worry with these sites. Adult sites are notorious for malware and virus attacks on computers. Visits to these types of sites could put your whole network at risk.
Social Networking – Besides the amount of time that can easily be wasted on sites like facebook and MySpace, people do tend to be a bit loose-tongued in reporting their immediate thoughts and feelings over these viral networks. Employee’s may inadvertently post comments regarding their work that you’d rather they didn’t make public.
Auction – Ebay and other auction sites can be a big temptation to those who have made them a daily part of their lives for either selling or buying, or both. Seconds can easily turn into minutes when browsing through your ‘Watched’ items.
Shopping – Amazon is only one of many shopping sites that employers choose to ban. Browsing is one thing, but once someone decides to buy…they’ll be committing some extra to the checkout process.
Sports – Sports sites may seem harmless until you see a whole crowd of your employee’s standing around one guy’s monitor discussing the latest game replays. For some reason, sports viewing tends to be a team sport.
News – Why would you care about your employee’s visiting a news site? Again, it is the time element. News headlines are designed to grab people’s attention, and they do. They begin to read the article, and then they get to the place where it says: “Read more…” They’re hooked.
Gaming – Gaming is by nature competitive. And like gambling, it can be very addicting to its participants. Minutes on a gaming site can turn into an hour without the employee even realizing it.
Video Sharing – Youtube and other video sharing sites are a lot of fun to look at. They are pure entertainment. Unless you are paying your employees to keep themselves entertained, you may want to add these to your blocked sites as well.
Proxy – These are sites that people use to hide their computer’s identity while they are surfing the web. These sites can pose a security risk to your company’s network and should definitely be on the list of blocked sites.
There may be some of these sites that your employees do need to access from time to time for legitimate work related reasons, but those can be addressed on an individual basis while still blocking the rest of these non-essential sites.