Do you keep walking past that person in the corner cubicle and every time you look at their screen they are scrolling through Facebook or diagnosing themselves on WebMD? They don’t even try to hide it! How do you handle the situation when an employee is excessively surfing the internet for personal use?
Managing an Employee who is Surfing the Internet Excessively
Step one is to manage the problem before jumping to create firewalls and blocking all social media sites. Understanding the root of the problem is much more effective than simply banning websites. Perhaps the issue is not that the employee is lazily surfing the internet; maybe the actual issue is that they do not have enough work and they are bored. Or perhaps they need more training to do their job correctly; they don’t know what they are doing so they just give up and surf the web. Resolving the workload and performance issues is a much more effective way to resolve the problem in the long run rather than trying to use band aid solutions going down the IT route.
Trust is an important element of the employment relationship. By policing websites that employees are using such as Facebook, Reddit and Twitter, it creates an environment of distrust. Trust empowers employees to do their jobs and take ownership of their responsibilities. It would be a disservice to your company to jeopardize that trust. Additionally, there are many positions that require the use of social media websites. While it may look like the employee is slacking off while on Facebook, there might be a legitimate work reason that they need to access the website (however Farmville is unlikely to be a legitimate use of Facebook at work).
When you are having a conversation with an employee about their internet use, make sure to discuss your expectations of their performance. Their time spent flipping through various websites is undoubtedly impacting their performance and you need to address the areas where you need to see improvement. You can reference their job description or previous performance reviews to help facilitate the conversation.
IT Policies and Inappropriate Internet Usage
IT policies typically cover topics such as security as well as acceptable use of technology. This is an important policy to use if your employee is accessing internet content that is not appropriate while at work or if they are using work devices for personal use while at home. Obviously this type of behaviour cannot be condoned. If the policy has been breached then you should take any necessary action as outlined in the policy. Hackers and data security are serious threats to your business, a bigger threat than an underperforming employee, so it is imperative that you address the inappropriate internet usage before it can cause problems for your company.
Don’t Blame Facebook
Do you have a problem with employees excessively using the internet for personal use during work hours? Don’t blame Facebook, get us to help. We can help you develop effective workplace policies and manage employee relations. Book a free consultation or download our free performance and development questions to start the conversation.