To block or not to block…

03 December 2008

Since writing my book, the most common question I have been asked during presentations of my research is “should companies block access to Facebook?”. The answer, in my opinion, is not a straightforward yes or no, but usually “it depends”.

However new research from the Chartered Institute of Management suggests otherwise, going as far as to say that “the failure to allow widespread use of technology will hinder UK business in the long-run.”

There is, the organisation argues, a disconnect between employers who view Internet activity as a “massive time-waster” and the enthusiasm for Internet-based applications amongst Generation Y managers aged 35 and under.

The survey of 862 Institute members (which is apparently “almost 1,000″ according to the press release) found that 65 per cent of their employers block “inappropriate” websites and 18 per cent impose curfews that dictate when the Internet can be used at work. The study also claims that 65 per cent monitor employee Internet access, although I suspect that is considerably understated.

Whilst some of the other findings are somewhat dubious (relying yet again on respondents’ recollection of what they have done online in the last three months) and trying – and failing – to jump the Enterprise 2.0 bandwagon (“web-casting” is apparently a “new Internet (Web 2.0) technology”), this is further fuel to the argument that senior executives need to start boning up on what their future managers are going to expect – and demand – from them.

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