Many workplaces nowadays find it prudent to prevent their employees from surfing certain websites. Leading that pack of blocked websites is Facebook.
Facebook is a true phenomena in our social lives today, and many employers feel that leaving Facebook open for free surfing will cause a major waste of time and loss of productivity. But is it true? Is blocking Facebook really that smart? Many people feel that blocking Facebook at work is a mistake, but can’t quite convince their bosses. Here is an organized list of reasons why Facebook should not be blocked in the workplace that should help you convince your boss to change their mind.
Many bad things can be (and are) said about Facebook. But at the end of the day, we all use it to keep social connections alive and to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with friends we don’t necessarily meet every day. This is also true for the workplace.
A good working environment is one in which there are good social connections. Facebook can help enhance these connections, especially at the beginning, when you’re just getting to know your colleagues. Let’s be honest, isn’t adding our new colleagues to Facebook one of the first steps to feeling they’re not strangers anymore?
True, you can do that from home, but the odds of doing it when you come back from a 9 hour workday are much smaller. The 5-10 minutes you all spend in work adding each other and discussing some new pictures someone uploaded can truly enhance the in-office social bonding.
Breaks Are Important
Many employers seem to think that breaks are bad. In reality, breaks are necessary for productivity. It’s amazing what a 5-10 minute break every hour can do to your state of mind. Especially when you have to work in front of a screen all day in a monotonous environment.
Some people go for a smoke every hour, and that’s OK with everyone. So why not take a Facebook break every hour or two? 5-10 minutes of surfing Facebook, changing pace, reading some interesting links and looking at some pictures can work wonders on workers’ productivity.
How efficient can blocking websites be when most people have smartphones? As I see it, it’s better to have people surf Facebook for 5 minutes from their personal computer than have them fiddling with their phones all the time. The distraction this creates is much bigger than actually surfing Facebook.
It’s true that people can use their phones no matter what, but if no websites are blocked, they’re much more likely to use their computers. So again, not blocking can work to decrease the distraction from the work environment, not increase it.
Many employers miss this, but social networks can actually provide quite good inspiration. A lot of people are friends with people who are in a similar line of work, and posted links or even the occasional status can sometimes provide much-needed inspiration. Communication with people is always an inspiring thing, and you never know what might come out of a 5-minute surf.
It actually happened to me that a post from a friend led me to a new article idea for MakeUseOf. If Facebook was blocked, I would have missed it!
Social Sharing For Work
Many workplaces today have Facebook pages of their own. If not a Facebook page, they surely have some kind of website they’re trying to promote. There’s no arguing about the fact that Facebook and Twitter are some of the best promotion tools around these days. Workplaces should use them!
What happens if a workplace blocks Facebook? Do they really expect their workers to “like” their pages or share their news? If Facebook was blocked in my office, I’m pretty sure I would not remember (or even want) to get home and start sharing work-related things with my friends.
Facebook is a really powerful tool. It should be used, not ignored.
Blocking Creates Spite!
Most employees are way more trustworthy than they’re given credit for. Given the freedom, the average worker will spend little time surfing Facebook, and most of their time working. But what happens when Facebook is blocked at work?
Preventing people from doing something often makes them angry and spiteful. There are no lack of ways to get through blocks if one really wants to, and when this happens, the worker is likely to spend much more time on Facebook than they would have if it was available to begin with. Not to mention the time they wasted just trying to get through the block.
The blocking itself also creates a general air of distrust which makes the worker less happy and therefore less productive. Employers would be wise to trust their workers, and thus create a much calmer environment for them.
What’s better than a happy worker? A happy worker will be more productive, more motivated and will produce much better products. Distrust and restrictions are a sure way to make workers unhappy.
All in all, the advantages in having happy workers is much bigger than the “saved time” gained by blocking social websites. This is the real food for thought for employers.
Restrictions, especially when they feel unnecessary, only hurt productivity. A smart employer will hire people they can trust and give them the freedom they need to do their job as they see fit. This will result in a much happier and calmer environment, and much better creativity all around.
What do you think? Do you feel that blocking websites is actually good for productivity? Do you have stories from your own workplace? Share them in the comments!