Blocking Websites At Work – A Cop Out?

A recent survey states that fifty percent of employers block employees from being able to access certain websites at work.

Is blocking your employees ability to view certain websites a cop out? I can’t help but think that it is. Here’s why:

Blocking websites comes from the general theory that productivity decreases because employees are playing around on the internet. Thus, by limiting website access productivity will increase. This would be true if internet usage is the only thing keeping productivity low.

NEWS FLASH: Employees who want to waste time will find a way to do so, internet or not. The problem isn’t the internet, it’s their passion and engagement.

Shouldn’t companies focus  on making sure their employees are engaged, working to their full potential, and passionate?

Blocking website access for employees does the following:

  1. Forces non-engaged employees to spend their time at work doing things such as reading newspapers, wandering around the office, taking longer lunches, …oh yea, and checking their facebook status on their mobile phones where you really can’t track them.
  2. Forces engaged employees (who actually want to get work done) to have to jump through a million hoops to get online to do any of the following:
  • See what your customers are saying about you
  • Find creative ways to think outside the box
  • Do any type of research for new products/ideas
  • Look at clients website

It seems to me that instead of blaming the internet for the lack of productivity, companies should take a good look at how their teams are built and how their managers are setting expectations.

When a company decides to block website access they’ve put another blanket policy in place as a band aid to a much larger problem.

Companies need to do the following:

  • Hire passionate employees & monitor engagement
  • Set strong goals for employees
  • Push managers to set tough deadlines
  • Hold employees accountable for getting projects done

6 thoughts on “Blocking Websites At Work – A Cop Out?

  1. Not to mention, anyone technical will spend all their time finding ways to circumvent any restrictions until they’re successful.

  2. Marisa,

    Your central point is nothing short of genius. Indeed: Employees who waste time, internet or not, do it because they really don’t have anything better to do.

    The problem, absolutely, is a lack of engagement and alignment.

    Mechanical management practitioners miss the point. They attempt to dictate and control activities believing that “if employees would do what management says they are supposed to do,” things would go well. At the same time they tell employees, “We don’t need your creative contributions.”

    Once employees get that message, what’s left to do that won’t soon be automated or outsourced to Asia? It’s as good as commanding the workforce to disengage, isn’t it. (Ressler and Thompson’s book, “Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It,” hits home here.)

    Sustainable competitive advantage in today’s hyper-dynamic world comes from innovation. Innovation is the fruit of creativity. Creativity is the free contribution of engaged and interested people.

    NEWSFLASH: Solutions to today’s complex business challenges cannot be discovered “on command.” The old “carrot and stick” just gets in the way.

    Thanks for the post. Thanks for the thought.

    CJ Coolidge
    Author – “The Squaredime Letters: Moving from a Mechanical to an Organic Business Model”

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  4. As soon as I initially commented I clicked on the Notify me whenever new comments are added checkbox and currently each and every time a remark is added I receive 4 messages with the identical comment.

    • I’m sorry it’s doing that. I’m not sure how to fix that problem though. Can you try going back to the original post and seeing if there is a button to stop receiving notification of comments?

      If that doesn’t work let me know and I’ll try to reach out to WordPress. I haven’t heard of any of my other readers having that problem though so I’m thinking it might be on your end…but it might be on my end as well so let me know if you need me to look into this issue more.



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