Ban saves time and bandwidth, but could damage morale
Portsmouth City Council has made the drastic move of banning staff from using Facebook and other popular social networking sites, seemingly in an attempt to improve productivity
It appears the authority discovered that municipal workers were logging onto the site up to 270,000 times a month between them.
All in all this means employees have collectively spent an average of 413 hours a month on Facebook, something it maintains could be interpreted as a waste of tax payers’ money.
The council has admitted the blanket ban is the result if it being unable to determine whether staff members were using these websites during the working day or outside of working hours, which would have actually been allowed.
Reports suggest that as many as two-thirds of companies have imposed bans or moved to restrict the use of such websites to certain times of the day, or to limit their use to people working in particular job roles.
However, industry commentators have noted that banning use of social networking sites can have a negative effect on organisational productivity, as many workers use them to gain valuable industry or competitor information, or even to network with contacts and colleagues.
Jon Mulligan, managing director of workplace analytics company OfficeMetrics said, “With the right investment in productivity management software, employers can regulate staff browsing habits and ensure that time is not being wasted, and performance doesn’t slip – all without impacting on the work/life balance.
He said this would also give employees a better understanding of how they spend their working day, paving the way for smarter working practices all round.