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Experts Say Surfing the Internet at Work Is Good For You

My last job had a very strict Internet firewall that became increasingly exclusive every year I worked there. When I started, we had no access to outside email or social network sites like Facebook and MySpace, and those restrictions were manageable. Then came the ban on most recreational sites that focused on things like cooking and sports, and towards the end of my time there they had banned the entire Sugar Network! So wrong. The only sites available were those that provided hard news or ones that were finance related.

British psychologists are now saying that companies with these bans in place are actually hurting themselves — instead of improving productivity these limitations may demoralize employees. In a study of 1,700 workers, the researchers found that “By factoring in ebreaks, bosses are fostering a more trusting working environment, boosting productivity, and ultimately increasing their profit.”

Are there any sites banned at your company that would make you happier if they were permitted?


Join The Conversation
amerynn amerynn 9 years
My previous employer put up a ban on everything except approved sites (very few) and it was so frustrating and demeaning. My current employer doesn't block anything, but it's a much more laid-back environment and one where I'm treated with respect so I actually enjoy my work and working hard for my bosses.
alangley alangley 9 years
We have a lot of restrictions at my company, but I really miss having YouTube and Blogspot.
GinaSnyder GinaSnyder 9 years
I work in media, so they encourage us to know what's going on. However, the latest Facebook/MySpace happenings probably don't cut it.
brainstewerz brainstewerz 9 years
I worked at a place for 3 months and there was no ban on anything internet or email. I think I could have gotten much more work done if there was a ban...of course I would have also been a little pissed off about it. Strangely enough, they had a bigger problem with me eating at my desk.
hmcmcd hmcmcd 9 years
my old company banned Myspace after the receptionist posted stuff about her job there. But a few of the girls found a way to redirect the IP address so that we could still get on it.:)
gigill gigill 9 years
No restrictions here since we need to research news etc. on entertainment sites and frequently link to youtube. In fact, one of my jobs is maintaining a myspace page! At my other job (journalism-related) there was a blocker on porn but that's about it.
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
anything relating to games, fun, socializing or nudity is banned, you get a little msg in big bold red letters saying you have attempted to access a site that involves games, fun, socializing or nudity which is against company policy....yadda yadda yadda...."
lovealways lovealways 9 years
Restrictions would frustrate me.
Meike Meike 9 years
No ban at my work place. Obviously, there is an underlying adherence to not frequent sites that contain NSFW material. I work at a company with a 'Play Hard, Work Hard' culture, much like the search engine darling in Mountain View. :)
colormesticky colormesticky 9 years
No MySpace, YouTube, or any kind of streaming media. It sucks not being able to see video or listen to Yahoo music.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
:rotfl: fart machine....:rotfl:
aljefferson-tbag aljefferson-tbag 9 years
I work for a company VERY similar to your previous employer. We've had numerous web sites blocked and this has dampened the moral of the office. In the meantime, we've recenlty ordered the Fart Machine No. 2 and that has been a great "filler" for when times are slow. The Fart Machine No. 2 comes with an amplifier (boom box) and count them, yes, 15 different kinds of farts. You can trigger this Fart Machine remotely from 100 feet away!!! The Man will eventually take that away too ...
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 9 years
We have no limitations here. Then again, we are an online agency so that would be REALLY counterproductive. At my old job, the Mr. Burns-esque president caught me checking my Gmail once, before work hours started, and had IT run my internet usage. It turned out that I was online more than anyone in my department and I ended up getting in trouble. HOWEVER, I was also the one with the highest productivity, by a LONG shot. Meanwhile, the guy next to me would spend 20 minutes of each hour outside smoking. :oy: Ugh. Telling that story makes me really angry.
secretallstar secretallstar 9 years
My company's been cracking down - they just shut down The Onion and TMZ, among a bunch of other blogs and recreational sites. Funny thing is, we're a news company, and TMZ has actually broken celeb news we might need to match (Mel Gibson's DUI arrest/wackiness, Anna Nicole's death). Oh well, IT says NO!
MindayH MindayH 9 years
The most random sites are banned for my comapny - and then personal email - so we can't transfer proprietary info through our network, which makes sense, but then all my friends have to email me at work.
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
We have sites that are banned, but they are all understandable. Thank goodness it's not the Sugar network! It doesn't get in the way of my productivity at all.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
I've never worked at a place that had an actual ban, but it was frowned upon at my old office. I got in trouble for looking at CNN one day. I started looking for another job that afternoon. To me, as long as work is getting done, why put limitations on employees? All it does is piss them off. Plus, the employer is automatically saying they don't trust their employees.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
No restrictions here! I would die if there were any.
Smart-Living Smart-Living 9 years
The link should work now. Thanks, syako!
girlwparasol girlwparasol 9 years
i've worked at several banks where EVERYTHING (except the bank's own site) was banned. even for officers. the only employees with full web-access were branch managers. no google, no news sites (seriously, they had a blocker page that would pop up and actually say, "BANNED SITE - CATEGORY: NEWS"), no e-mail, not even ...and for some reason credit unions let you use the internet freely, so the internet obviously wasn't blocked for security reasons.
ladypenguin ladypenguin 9 years
CaterpillarGirl, Google is banned at your company??? Wow. I use Google as much, if not more, for work purposes than personal stuff.
syako syako 9 years
(savvy the link doesn't work to the telegraph story) We don't have any restrictions either. It's a really relaxed work environment here any way, so it kind of figures. Plus with only like 10 employees it's pretty obvious who isn't picking up the slack. My husband works for a Fortune 500 company who bans pretty much everything except maybe BBC. That, to me, is so childish and big brother like. I understand the idea, but there has to be other ways to make sure an employees e-breaks don't turn into e-work. And totally true about the no-trust thing. Way to show an employee you respect them and expect them to act like adults.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
At my old job we weren't allowed on web based email or myspace/facebook. Those things are okay and I understand not being able to go on there. My manager would actually lift the email ban whenever she remembered.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I could go without facebook and that stuff. but to ban cooking sites and sugar? WRONG! I need my zonk out time here and there too. I am still getting my work done so what's the big deal???
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
myspace, google, and i cannot stay on one site for longer than 1/2 hour at a time.
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