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Bloviating Zeppelin: What You Do At Work

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What You Do At Work


When you sit down to your keyboard at work and, for a moment, access the internet, are you being watched by your employer?

More and more, the answer would be a resounding "yes."

Is that wrong or is that right?

I'll go you one further: blogs require massive amounts of time. Anyone associated with a blog knows this clearly. Do you blog at home on your own time? Or do you waste the "company's" time by using their server and the computer at your desk?

Be honest. Do you?

Isn't the connection faster? Isn't it a matter of a modem vs. DSL or whatever connection your company embraces?

But what if there's more?

What if each and every keystroke were recorded by such a program, and each and every website you visited and each and every e-mail you sent were archived NOT at your home, but on a server at work?

The October 2006 issue of PC World features an ad on page 89 for Specter CNE which displays a banner reading: "RECORD EVERYTHING YOUR EMPLOYEES DO ON THE INTERNET."

A few minutes a day of personal surfing, online shopping and chatting may seem harmless, but consider this. . .

A recent study concluded that employees spend an average of 75 minutes per day using office computers for non-business related activity (surfing porn, gambling, shopping or even searching for sex online). That translates into an annual loss of $6,250 per employee or more than $300,000 per year down the drain for a company of just 50 employees.

At the touch of a button, you can monitor any employee, any time, anywhere on the network. Spector CNE secretly records records and archives chat conversations, instant messages (AOL, MSN and Yahoo), e-mails (including Outlook, Exchange, AOL and web-based mail like Hotmail), web sites visited, keystrokes typed, files downloaded, programs run and more.

And unlike many filtering and blocking tools, Spector CNE records everything they do in exact visual detail. So, you have absolute proof that goes way beyond knowing they visited porn.com.

Would you object to this kind of program utilized by your employer? Would you change your surfing and e-mailing habits if you knew this program was running on your employer's servers?

Would you do anything at all?

If you were an employer, is this right or wrong?

If you are an employee, is this right or wrong?

Are you blogging? And are you blogging against the interests or concerns of your employer? You might want to consider this as an extreme factor for using their equipment -- an issue over which they clearly have control -- and should. After all, it's their equipment and their time. Isn't it?

What are the policies for your agency and your company? Perhaps, before you make one more keystroke into the ether, you should review official policies.

If you visit porn sites you'll go down. As well you should on company time. In my department we've already had one Lieutenant shipped into a startlingly-early retirement for this precise reason.

There is a massive company and agency loss, per year, of work time because of internet access. Are you a suspect or a victim? What are your company's views?

You'd best find out now. Because later is too late.

BZ

6 Comments:

Blogger A Jacksonian said...

When I did peruse the net from work I rarely left comments... most likely a total of 5 over as many years. Technology and its implementation were my venues and I stuck to that so that I could find the latest technology to put forth better ways of getting the job done.

At an R&D office I was the *only* one doing that... and the *only* one coming up with new ways to put all the other technology together. Always something new to add to the mix and spark ideas... if for nothing else I served that role to help people widen their scope to help the Nation. I did go through political sites and others of peripheral interest to the industry, but then I worked for the government and 60% efficiency is considered wonderful... unlike the 80% in private industry.

So, slack time is factored into your job and payment. It is *overhead*. Use it wisely. I did my best to do so... and think that fair repayment was gained for everyone.

Tue Oct 03, 07:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: are you KIDDING??!!? 60% efficiency for ANY governmental entity is PHENOMENAL!!

Yes, there is a give and take. More likely it shall consist of your rightly avoiding the internet because otherwise the agency is going to TAKE from you.

These programs exist and they can track your every keystroke. EVERY keystroke. Those who fail to realize this shall be the first to fall in a public or private sector venue.

BZ

Tue Oct 03, 07:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Daydreamer of Oz said...

Tricky subject, BZ.

In principle I agree that the employee is on the company's equipment and time and therefore 'get what's coming to them' if they goof off.

On the other hand, consider this: I know someone who was the top performer in her field. She, alone, did 60% of the work of her entire team. She recently got fired, on the spot - no notification, no warning, just fired. Their stated reason for the termination was too much time surfing the internet.

I would never have made such a call. If someone performed at her level, I would definitely speak to them about personal internet use but would not lose that kind of intellectual capital for such a silly reason.

So the bottom line to me is not so much 'do employers have the right to do this' - obviously they do. I think it's more about whether they should. If someone is doing their job properly & effeciently then who cares what they do while they're waiting for the next call to come through etc.

We must keep Maslow's theories in mind, you know? :)

Tue Oct 03, 09:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Daydreamer: and that's the precise point. Though she was evidently a performer, employers are taking more of a hard line view a providing little room for common sense or perspective.

BZ

Wed Oct 04, 02:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger benning said...

I've never had internet access at work. I have had access to computers, and on my breaks would type up short stories. However that sort of use was eventually forbidden and I stopped.

Too much temptation for me anyway. If such activity is not allowed by the employer, then I think it's in the employer's interest to find out what their computers are being used for.

Thu Oct 05, 09:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Benning: I tend to side with you; whose equipment is it? On the other hand, expectations and limitations of any kind should be spelled out up front and be made clear and known to all employees, not just some "selected" few.

BZ

Sat Oct 07, 09:05:00 AM PDT  

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