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What are you afraid of?

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Most companies these days have some sort of internet policy.  Every company expects their employees to limit their personal internet use during business hours to a minimum and to not frequent any questionable websites.  Many companies have implemented programs to block certain websites (such as sites that deal with sports and entertainment) they feel could be large time wasters for employees – more often than not these will also include social media sites.  Lately I’ve been thinking that this seems to be an old school mode of thinking.
The internet is just another form of communication and the most efficient form of gathering news and information. So why are so many companies afraid?  Maybe some companies are worried that their employees will damage their brand by saying something negative online?  These employees can post the same thoughts a couple of hours later from home, so that doesn’t seem to be logical.
Along those same lines, if an employee happens to see a damaging comment on a social media site, they can draw the proper department’s attention to it and the company can be more proactive in dealing with the issue.
Some companies may have a fear of viruses or spyware or other malicious programs that an untrained employee might accidentally acquire.  While this is a valid concern, there are steps to take that can protect their systems.  They should already have those in place anyway.
If it’s a loss of productivity that they are concerned about, many people these days own smart phones, and they have the means to waste time right there in their pockets. If you can’t trust an employee to do his or her work, you may have hired the wrong person.
Many years ago, any personal phone calls at work drew this same sort of criticism.  Now they have become an accepted part of the work day as long as the calls aren’t excessive.  My hope is that one day companies will feel the same way about allowing internet access to all their employees.

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