Trade unions demand right to Facebook
It's like the Tolpuddle Martyrs all over again
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has today called on employers to reconsider outright bans that have been slapped on popular web time-killers Facebook, Bebo and MySpace.
While legal, the embargos are an "over-reaction" to the rise of social networking, according to the unions. Intstead, clear policies should be agreed which allow reasonable online gossiping, poking, and general mucking about during break times. Facebook and its kin are just the modern version of water cooler chat, the TUC argues.
Increasing numbers of IT departments are blocking the sites as board rooms wise up to the hype around social networking. Research earlier this month suggested that about half of employers already restrict access to Facebook. Users often expose too much personal information too, it's claimed.
Web hipster and TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Simply cracking down on use of new web tools like Facebook is not a sensible solution to a problem, which is only going to get bigger.
"It's unreasonable for employers to try to stop their staff from having a life outside work, just because they can't get their heads around the technology."
The TUC also cautioned employers who might be tempted to check out job applicants' profiles because they could fall foul of equal opportunity laws. Only a minority of candidates may have a profile, which could unfairly help or hinder them.
An old Vulture writes: There is no doubt the TUC's groundbreaking dictat on social networking sites will help the UK's union movement shake off its unwarranted and erroneous "dinosaur" image and contribute to the revival of the UK's heavy industrial base. If only Arthur Scargill, Red Robbo, Joe Gormley and their cohorts had had access to Bebo and Friends Reunited we'd still be enjoying the three day week, driving British Leyland cars and singing along to Billy Bragg in the dark.®
Thanks for setting me straight on that one, you are a shining example to us all.
Good luck and keep up the good work!
Remember Morale = Productivity
As the IT manager of a publishing/web design company, I know exactly what the staff are doing, how much it costs us, and what we're making. We have a very laissez-faire approach to staff use of the company IT facilities, based on the philosophy of morale = productivity. Staff working under stress, constantly spied on and driven by whiplash management, are staff that clock-watch, take sickies, quarrel, and show poor customer service. Staff that are happy in their jobs and feel wanted and trusted perform much better. Our customers (mostly authors wanting to publish books or company execs wanting websites, reports and brochures done) are very canny and will pick up immediately if things are not well in the office. As one of our office pep-posters has it, "We want you to WANT to come to work!"
The approach we take here is that you have freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility. Everyone here knows what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by, and as long as the work gets done on time there's no problem with people doing their own thing meanwhile. The only activities banned in our workplace are porn and piracy, for obvious reasons, but just about anything else is OK.
By showing this level of trust in our staff, maintaining openness and accountability, and making them aware of the importance of their roles in the company, we create an office culture in which everyone can see instantly who's pulling their weight and who's riding the gravy train. If work isn't being done, money stops and people lose their jobs. As a result, gravy-trainers get pulled aside and spoken to, not just by management but by their colleagues as well. Continue to freeload and you'll be shown the door. But if you keep ahead of your work, nobody objects to someone streaming music or video, social networking - or posting comments on El Reg. Our accountants have worked out that the productivity increase as a result of high staff morale more than offsets the bandwidth cost of allowing non-work related activities in the office.
It works for us. We've been in business ten years and shown profit growth every year since. Only once have we had to lay someone off and then it wasn't for poor performance, but a shift in our business model that made that person's role redundant - and it was not a decision we made lightly.
So from personal experience, I can tell you that bean-counting stinginess and whiplash management costs more in lost productivity than does giving a bit of liberty in the workplace. Respect your staff and they will respect you. Give a little, and you'll get a lot. It does work!
Wow, how lame.
Social networking is a waste of everybodies time. But fortunately for me I find other ways to waste time. Since I spend anywhere from 55 to 70 hours a week working and I'm a salaried employee that means that I am spending an additional 15 to 30 hours of my personal time working. So if I waste 10% of my time doing non-work surfing the company is still ahead of the game.
Also I am a work from home employee so it's my bandwidth that is being used not the company's. The company's bandwidth is only being used when I connect to the company intranet.
So what do all of you work nazies have to say about that? I firmly believe that if you have enough time to keep track of what your fellow employees are doing then you don't have enough to do. Personally I'm too busy to worry about or keep an eye on my fellow employee.
Nosey parkers/Satanic mills
Why don't all the whingers get a fkin life and keep their noses out of my leisure-time activities at work. What the hell has it got to do with you? Don't gimme all that I carry you all day sh1t. I do an 8 hour day in 6 hours and spend the other 2 doing whatever the hell I want. Just because you choose to drag it out (or are too tardy) and do a full 8 hours work, more fool you! You probably also drag out the getting home bit by sitting in the outside lane doing 65, tutting at me going past you in the inside lane. Take away my internet access, see if I care, I'll still find those 2 hours in my day to do whatever the hell I like. Remember, work to live not the other way around.
I wish someone would invent a device that measured the amount of physical and mental energy used in a days work, then we'd see who the slackers were and I'd get paid more than you for doing more work. I don't care what you do at work, I'm sure you are just trying to earn some money same as me, so keep the hell out of my business and keep your hypocritical observations to yourself, SHEESH!
Off topic, but can people also stop using 'there' for 'their'
Responsability in the work place
I don't think that many people advocate banning everything, and nobody spends every second in work doing company tasks.
Half my weeks in work are on the graveyard shift, for the most part it's quiet and I can waste my time like this (as I can't read manuals and RFCs all night). All too often all hell breaks loose and my intervention saves my employers considerably more than my annual salary each time (I accept that I earn considerably less than the company benefits from my employment.)
When I am on days things are much busier (dealing with users and managers of other depts). I still have time to read the news online and check my personal emails during my breaks. I have no argument with that situation, I am here to work and my boss is cool about phone calls etc when I have issues that require attention.
However just because I am relatively responsable dosn't mean others are. Although it's one thing to allow users to maintain their personal life (to some extent) in work (ie receive calls fro home, check emails, and even to make a quick call to the bank)
I don't see why I should have to work on alleged fault calls (and my employers foot the bill) because somebody cant do their personal banking online, download from itunes (to their work machine), listen to internet radio or watch silly videos from Finland. If it dosn't work then accept the fact and carry out these leisure activitys at work.
Stuff like internet banking etc was to allow people to maintain their accounts outside of working hours !
Youtube, facebook, myspace et al are leisure persuits, I can confirm that my manager would be less than happy if I brought in some PCBs to etch in the kitchen area, or my shift partner brought in this Ford Prefect to respray on company time.