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Reck B

Internet Access At Work

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I restricted our staffs internet access at work (boo/hiss etc) because our policy of using it only during breaks was being largely ignored despite several warnings.

I've just found out that the restriction has either been breached or stopped working some time ago (at least 3 weeks ago, according to their intenet history) and no-one told me, they just resumed using it...it's really quite annoyed me.

Honestly, days like this it seems employing people has to be the worst thing about running a business. if I could replace them with software and robots I probably would...

What annoys me even more is they moan that the targets are too hard for maximum bonus - "well they probably are if you spend all day fannying around on twatbook" I'm about to say in a meeting/rollicking.

I'd like to trust them to use it as originally agreed - for work purposes or during breaks but it seems the temptation is too great.

Whats your companies (if you work for one) policy on internet usage at work? Am I being too hard by taking it away?

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What's the real problem here? Underperformance? Would you care if they were on the net all day and still performing as desired? My advice would be don't punish the class because of the behaviour of a few. Decide who is underperforming, have a look at their internet access, if there is a correlation then you can go after them legitimately.

Your problem however isn't just the above, but the fact you have laid down a rule which has now been ignored/broken. You have to decide whether this challenge to your authority is acceptable.

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What's the real problem here? Underperformance? Would you care if they were on the net all day and still performing as desired? My advice would be don't punish the class because of the behaviour of a few. Decide who is underperforming, have a look at their internet access, if there is a correlation then you can go after them legitimately.

Your problem however isn't just the above, but the fact you have laid down a rule which has now been ignored/broken. You have to decide whether this challenge to your authority is acceptable.

A bit of both really though one the main issues for me is the somewhat sneakiness they have all displayed by not telling me the firewall hasn't been working, especially after the meeting we had when I announced that I was cutting off the web - we discussed the reasons and ultimately agreed I'd buy a laptop for the canteen as a softener..

There's a few staff who I would certainly have expected to bring this to my attention who didn't. So I'm having a few doubts about trust...

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You say, as you post on HPC before lunch! :lol:

Personally, I'd burn them all. Ask questions later.

Well,... you know - directors privelege. B)

I can't quite make out if thats bur n or bum ?...either way, harsh but it might just work..

*dials 24*

"Hello, Alice? can I have a word please? oh, and bring the lurpak and some bandages."

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No, not at all.

Do the work, get the bonuses, as long as of course your bonus structure is reasonable? If it's not, the workforce will go at the pace they see fit.

Can you not bar internet access between certain times and only allow it in their break times?

Plus, do they not know there's a recession on?

Targets are very much acheivable. Nothing more demotivating than impossible targets... They haven't had a month this year where some level of bonus wasn't acheived and have hit maximum twice this year which I think is pretty spot on. I'll check our router to see if timed access is an option though I did put a laptop in the canteen for break time browsing.

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Let them do what they want. If they do their work and the demands of the job are reasonable there's no problem. If they're not doing their work and the demands of the job are reasonable then it doesn't particularly matter why. Interference beyond that makes you look bad and they're more likely to take a "sod you" attitude towards you.

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we have a access block on certain types of sites (unsigned, porn, gambling etc) and others are not.

there is a set of words/terms that are blocked (as apposed to just URL's) and if its flagged one of 3 things will happen.

1, it will let you on th site, but flag that with network administrator, they will check it is appropriate this is low level

2, it will block access, but you have to click a button this will imediatly notify network administrator for approval, this is medium level

C, it will just out right block access, this is high level to get this unblocked we have to contact network administrator to do so.

at the end of the month, a list of all sites visited and their block level is reviewed by network administrator,

its not perfect but it works, some genuine sites we need for work have been found to be blocked,

we have all signed an e policy as part of our contract, and it states that if we breach certian rules, looking at personel websites out site of break times, looking at porn at any time, etc then we will get warnings written/verbal/dissmissal (depending on severity)

TBh all of us here look at personel sites all through the day, but non of us has a lunch break as such, or works exactly 9 - 5:30 every day, 99% of the times its longer, and we dont get paid for it (we do in some form of bonus HAHAHAHAHAHAH) as we all know that we will get the job done on time.

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Well,... you know - directors privelege. B)

Fire the director :)

I know you were tongue in cheek but in my company:

The directors take the biggest pay cuts in a downturn

The directors are restricted more than others in when they're allowed to take holiday. (Got to be there to get the end of month figures in. Kids school holidays not acceptable as an excuse)

The directors are expected to show better timekeeping than the others

When a difficult/shitty task comes up it is the director who is expected to see to it,

etc.

Trust does not occur if your directors do not lead by example or apply double standards. They get paid more to do it. They get bonus to compensate for 'the risks' of being the person who chooses which other people get made redundant. Their decision making is deemed better than the others. They are presumably more loyal than the others. So the directors must be seen to be loyal, trustworthy, contributing, et al. The staff can only, at best, be expected to match the director's behaviour.

As to the original question, we allow internet access BUT are able to categorise sites. Games sites are blocked, as are chat sites, web mail sites and obviously porn sites. Ebay, amazon and similar blocked except for one hour at lunchtime, whic his the staff's time and they are allowed to use the company's equipment for their private use. Company policy signed by every member of staff making clear what is and is not permitted use of office facilites (email and internet) making clear a breach is a sackable offence.

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I've written some software (www.pcworktime.com) which records second by second the activity on MS Windows PC's including when the computer goes idle (no mouse movement or keyboard input).

From the data collected, it will tell you how long they spend using everything, from reading or writing emails, time on each website and webpage etc etc and will tie into to a seperate phone addon so you can cross link it with phone calls people take or make to see how long you spend with each customer and supplier as well for example (or making personal phone calls).

Its designed for productivity and security reasons in the main, becuase you can see if anyone is accessing say your business bank accounts without your knowledge from your network or maybe copy data from your system. Likewise you can see if someone outside the business is accessing your computers out of hours as well as just another scenerio.

I've been running it for over a year now and it works well. I use it to keep track of billable hours, or any contract programmers I employ elsewhere in the world I pay based on the data this captures.

This is my only rival http://www.rescuetime.com/ but the difference with my system is the data stays on your system, its not uploaded to the web unlike their system so it doesnt tie up your broadband connection and I'm only charging £10+vat per workstation per year although they do a limited free version.

Theirs is only accurate to within 3-4seconds, mine can be accurate to fractions of second if you want that level of activity monitor and mine is smart enough to work out whats what so you can quickly catagorise activity to work or personal stuff and sub catagorise everything to your hearts content to see collectively how long you company spends reading/writing emails and surfing online etc etc.

I hope to have it up on the web by Xmas but I'm just finishing off a universal bugreporting & support request program for windows programs and websites (www.pcbugreporter.com) as I needed a fast way for my customers to report problems with my software without them having to vist websites to report a problem.

So once this is finished and the website is up, I'll release PCWorkTime.com and SafeEkids.com (a similar intelligent program to protect kids from porn et al) at the same time. I'm holding them back becuase PCBugReporter can send me debug data from customers machines so I can get straight to the problem and in turn fix any problems faster than any other software company.

In the time it takes to pick up the phone and call me, PCBugReporter.com can capture shedloads of machine data just like BelArc does, a screen dump and debug data so I can see what the values are in variables and the affected program code. Theres nothing like PCBugReporter out there, its globally unique and its the fastest way to report problems or get support.

If you want an early copy of PCWorkTime.com drop me a line and I'll drop you a link to the installer my customers have been testing for me, its good for Win2k machines and later. Win95,98, ME are not supported but you can at least try it out at no cost for an extended period as it will have a 30day trial period when it goes on line but for now you can run it till I kill it remotely.

GEEZ, RISE OF THE MACHINES IS COMING! :o

revisitabandonterminator2010.jpg

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A few people like work like those cleaners that win the lottery then go back to their jobs. But for the most part work is just a cruel and unusual prison sentence to be endured.

Net access at work must have done wonders for the nation's mental health, providing amusement where only soul crushing tedium would exist otherwise.

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I restricted our staffs internet access at work (boo/hiss etc) because our policy of using it only during breaks was being largely ignored despite several warnings.

Snip I no longer use the internet at work, my old bosses used to monitor what I wrote online actively and would use this to their advantage. But then these places were mini totalitarian states. CCTV at EVERY desk, net access monitored all the time (then they restricted it then they cut it off completely necessitating we go to a specific terminal to go to HMRC). Heh they too had an impossible bonus scheme... I remember trying to keep my face straight when they announced it.. We were all to bill 240K for 3 consequtive months.... except that the company only had a turn over of 1.4 million which meant it was impossible.

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Snip I no longer use the internet at work, my old bosses used to monitor what I wrote online actively and would use this to their advantage. But then these places were mini totalitarian states. CCTV at EVERY desk, net access monitored all the time (then they restricted it then they cut it off completely necessitating we go to a specific terminal to go to HMRC). Heh they too had an impossible bonus scheme... I remember trying to keep my face straight when they announced it.. We were all to bill 240K for 3 consequtive months.... except that the company only had a turn over of 1.4 million which meant it was impossible.

Yep - I am all for stopping internet abuse, people who spend all day on the net and do nothing, but I am fairly sure that plenty of bosses sit and pour through your internet access and personal emails, which is sad and terrible, hoping to find some area or weakness, or indeed just a window into your mind to their advantage.

Your better off just reading the news at work, or not using the net in work.

The workplace is getting worse, the amount of pivacy invasion and general humilations we accept as the norm now. But there is no escape for many corporate slaves only the next corporate job,

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What did we all do before 1998? When we all worked perfectly well with dumb terminals, an office fax and maybe a central email.

Oh, I know! We were all absolutely just fine. We read the paper at lunch and did that thing called 'work' during the day.

I've no idea because I was still in college in 1998. Heh, back at my last two work places the bosses got nasty and demanded more work for less pay, such that there were not enough hours in the day to do it meaning you had to take it home with you. No wonder they had 100% staff turn over....

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The workplace is getting worse, the amount of pivacy invasion and general humilations we accept as the norm now. But there is no escape for many corporate slaves only the next corporate job,

HSBC was far the worst place I've worked. It was sending out spam letters and bankstatements out to people. The work wasn't good to start with working on a massive envelope stuffing machine which would go beep when it finished each letter, It could crank out 3 letters a second and would drive you absolutely spare. You would sleep and hear the beeping in your dreams. There were domes all over the ceiling CCTV domes you never knew which ones were real or not. You also had these smart card things which meant you were locked into each and every room to go out you scanned yourcard which recorded your movements. Even the drinks machines had this on them to record how much you drank.

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HSBC was far the worst place I've worked. It was sending out spam letters and bankstatements out to people. The work wasn't good to start with working on a massive envelope stuffing machine which would go beep when it finished each letter, It could crank out 3 letters a second and would drive you absolutely spare. You would sleep and hear the beeping in your dreams. There were domes all over the ceiling CCTV domes you never knew which ones were real or not. You also had these smart card things which meant you were locked into each and every room to go out you scanned yourcard which recorded your movements. Even the drinks machines had this on them to record how much you drank.

A well known national employer in my area locks all the toilet doors, so that all employees have to ask their manager for the key...they know how many times each employee goes to the loo...

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A bit of both really though one the main issues for me is the somewhat sneakiness they have all displayed by not telling me the firewall hasn't been working, especially after the meeting we had when I announced that I was cutting off the web - we discussed the reasons and ultimately agreed I'd buy a laptop for the canteen as a softener..

There's a few staff who I would certainly have expected to bring this to my attention who didn't. So I'm having a few doubts about trust...

Yes, I have to agree I'm always very unhappy with anything that has a cunning/devious/collusion element.

A frequent problem we have is individual branches colluding with each other and not informing management or deviating from the normal chain of command. I tend to favour punishing as severely as possible for this.

Another bugbear is if I'm doing store visits the manager of the first store I visit then telephoning every other branch in the area and warning them. I can spot it straight away if I arrive and they're already expecting it. If there's evidence on either branch phone records then it's a formal written warning.

With the internet access we have all social networking/email/ebay/amazon blocked that it's hardly worthwhile them doing it. Also the office is very open plan and quite busy with people walking around so would be spotted quite easily.

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Not really but it can bring openess and transparency to the workplace.

Which are just buzz words, i.e. it brings extra powers towards the boss to use against their employees. Maybe its me having two really bad experiences where bosses would find things to use against you and they would bully people for fun. But these days I care much less and first priority in any work place is to find something to absolutely bury your boss should he attempt to do the same against you.

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I disagree becuase unless you do something against company policy then you cant be punished. The problem is, its too easy to lie and without proof theres no telling. All my app does is provide proof of work carried out and insights into ways businesses can make themselves more efficient. I think your previous experiences have clouded your judgement.

Hmm business more efficient.... = more for less, i.e. scare your employees into working harder while giving them the same amount of money.

your whole concept fails on something big though. That you consider something takes an equal amount of time. how long is a piece of string, you say oh how long it takes to write an email. Today I spent nigh an hour writing outsomething highly technical to a client. It ended up being 72kb of text. I can touch type very fast. I went back and checked it for mistakes.

As a result of your software it would show Ken taking the pish, meaning I get asked why I spent so long, I explain myself. I get off the hook because it was work. This may seem to be nothing but it makes me unhappy. And this also does not take into account I feel both watched and demoralised. Also in the future I may well hurry and thus make mistakes because I don't want to be hauled over the coals again.

Which can be even more costly.

For instance today my computer screen turned off many times because I was costing things up on paper rather than on excel. Again what does this show?

And thus many people get hauled over the coals for no reason other than they were really working.

Hell even past time is not an indicator of what time it takes today. For example 3 years ago now Mrs M's accounts were easy, 9 months later she had expanded her biz massively meaning it took a lot longer. Boss complained to me why it took so long, I explained it to him, but merely the fact of being accused of wrong doing did not make me happy as I was innocent. It was more complex and your system fails in this regard completely except for the simplest of tasks.

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damn, don't some people have anything better to do at work than to pour over every little bit of what their employees do?

And they say Britain has too many managers

I really couldn't give a toss if my users browse Facebook or not.

shakehead.gif

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We have a pretty relaxed policy, although it generally has to be this way as we work on the web and so any sort of restrictions would mean we wouldn't be able to our jobs correctly.

I have worked in places before where the internet has been restricted, it doesn't bother me as I'm there to work and often at times even here I'd actually rather the distraction wasn't there. I personally get in to work at around 7:45 and leave at 5:30 so in effect I do an extra 2:15 hours per day, if the boss were to pull me up on day time internet usage, which he would be entitled to do, then I'd be more than happy to wait by the front door until the second hand clicks over to 9:00 and then walk in the door and down tools on the stroke of 17:00, I'd also of course would never answer my phone outside of hours or respond to an emergency as I had to a few Sundays ago.

Give your employees a bit of flexibility and you will get it back.

As for the OP, I'd have to agree that a mass bollocking is generally counter productive, when in the past it has happened to me and I felt it was unjustified then it only ended in me going from a happy employee to one which had no respect for the management. That's the one thing that bugs me about business, the way management don't want to grasp the nettle when there is a problem employee. I obviously don't know the staff or the circumstance but in my experience it's normally a case of everybody knows Nigel in the corner does bugger all, they see that management do nothing about it which firstly demotivates everybody else and then leads to a "can't beat them, join them attitude".

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It's difficult creating a good working environment when people expect entertainment as part of their working day. Along TBF's lines, before the internet came, were people allowed to do the following during the working day?

  • Watch television
  • read the newspaper
  • listen to music
  • play games
  • write letters to their friends
  • look at jazz mags

I suspect not.

With my business head on, 10 staff spending an hour per day on the internet = Approx £26k per year in man hours the business is paying for entertainment, not to mention the loss of business and mistakes caused by lack of focus. i'm no slave driver, encourage frequent breaks, provide a pretty good break-out area and make sure the workload is enough to keep them busy but not too much to swamp them.

I know none of them will ever care as much about my busines as I do - it's my role to make them care as much as I can and I think I do a pretty good job given the low staff turnover over the years, It's just times like this I think the urine is being extracted somewhat.

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Why should employees have internet access if it's not needed to do their jobs?

You wouldn't provide a PS3 at their desk or scrabble? So why provide the biggest toy in the world straight to their desktop, unless they need it to work?

Presumably it's useful for something at their work. If it gets used for other things a little then so what? Keep their noses to the grindstone all day and you'll soon have grumpy, fed up employees who'll do their best to make life difficult for you in turn.

As for the impact, as I said earlier it's all down to whether or not they're doing their jobs. If they are then it doesn't matter how much time they spend not doing it, as long as it gets done by when it needs to get done. If you don't know whether the work is getting done or not then you're useless at your job. There's absolutely no need to give a damn about what anyone is doing at any particular time (unless they're supposed to be, for example, in a meeting).

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  • 143 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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