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Social Networks IT

Social Networking: The New Workplace Smoke Break 105

snydeq writes "J. Peter Bruzzese sees a solution for organizations seeking to cut down employee time spent on social networks at work: treat social networking like a smoke break. 'Try as you might to keep social networks at bay, mobile devices let people be in constant connection to their social networking vices over the cellular networks, which you can't block. Still, it's not completely impossible to stop social time-wasting over mobile: You can establish policies that, if enforced strongly enough, eliminate social networks from being accessed on company time. Treat it like smoking: Let employees take a 15-minute coffee/smoking/Facebook break and make them go to a designated area to do it.'"
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Social Networking: The New Workplace Smoke Break

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @01:35AM (#40038063)

    first post!

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      They used to call them "coffee breaks" back when it was acceptable to smoke damned near everywhere. When I was in college you could smoke in class! But folks still got breaks at work.

      I had one job where they were afraid of ruining IT equipment by getting stuff spilled on it, so you could smoke at your desk but not drink coffee. Now it's the other way around.

  • by DontScotty ( 978874 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @01:38AM (#40038087) Homepage Journal

    So - the smokers get double breaks?

    Since, they will be smoking while using the social media - that's multi-tasking. Like, 30 minutes worth of break time in 15 minutes.

    Not fair to those with untainted lungs!

  • by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Friday May 18, 2012 @01:41AM (#40038103)

    Yes, heaven forbid your employees take 10 minutes off from their monotonous cubicle hellholes to communicate a little with friends and family. It's not like studies have shown that more worker breaks increase productivity [illinois.edu] or anything. Henry Ford actually told his workers to work less [wikisource.org] because they got more done.

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:26AM (#40039091)

      They are saying "Let employees take a 15-minute coffee/smoking/Facebook break." That isn't even in the article, that is on the damn Slashdot post. I think it is reasonable to RTFP at least.

      The reason employers worry about unrestricted Facebook access is because some employees will slack hard with it. I've seen it at work, and have friends who have seen it: People who will spend hours a day messing around on Facebook not doing anything useful.

      This is a proposal saying "Don't ban it, workers need a break. Let them take a break and use it a reasonable amount."

      • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

        The solution for this is not banning, it is monitoring the use of the site so you can find the problem children and deal with them one on one. This is easily done just by looking at IP connections, you don't even need to snoop on the data.

        • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

          they're doing it on their mobile devices. they can't snoop on that data.

          that's why they're trying to con people to go into a designated booth to do it so they can count.

          clever. not.

          many of those offices have telephone booths already.

        • A serious problem with this is of course different usage patterns. While Greta, the 63 year old in accounting who's generally terrified of computers and barely knows how to "click open the internets" might only keep Facebook open when she's actively looking at it chances are the company's developers, engineers, IT staff and pretty much anyone young enough to not remember the days of Windows "multitask at your own peril" 9x are likely to keep a browser tab with Facebook open all day long. They might even che

          • One of my assistants was basically doing her work between using facebook, plenty of fish, etc., etc. I discovered this because work wasn't getting done on time, what was getting done was poorly done, and things were getting totally forgotten. Fortunately, she was using the office computer and not her phone so it was easy to check the logs.

            Maybe there really are people who can multitask so that checking FB or whatever every 10 minutes doesn't interfere with their work, but I'm skeptical. I know whenever I try to do complex tasks simultaneously, I end up doing everything less well. From watching how this particular assistant, who always seems to be doing everything frenetically, and yet accomplishing very little and that, poorly, I'm even less convinced there is any value in FB for my business. So I'm one of those assholes who just blocks it at the firewall, along with a bunch of other crap.

            • I think it depends a lot on what you're doing. I've seen tech support/helldesk/IT types handle IRC + Facebook and other stuff just fine despite being "online" all day long simply because their jobs often have lots of short periods of "nothing to do, might as well check FB/IRC/<Some forum>".

              Hell, as a developer I've found that doing something "recreational" between various sub-tasks I'm working on really helps me stay focused (as opposed to jumping straight from one thing to another).

              I think the proble

            • Maybe there really are people who can multitask so that checking FB or whatever every 10 minutes doesn't interfere with their work, but I'm skeptical.
              Our workplace dynamic is not people checking facebook every ten minutes. It is people getting a text or update every minute or so and then instantly stopping what they are doing to reply. Since they are are using texting, which is extremely inefficient, it often takes another minute to type out 10 or 15 words. So they are effectively wasting at least 1/3 to
  • by Professr3 ( 670356 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:14AM (#40038261)
    to look for an employer that isn't stuck trying to fit modern workplace paradigms into a tiny little box of thirty-year-old management strategies.

    "We don't really get this social media thing, but we DO understand smoke breaks. Just send the geeks outside with the rest! Problem solved."
  • Counterproductive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iampiti ( 1059688 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:19AM (#40038287)
    It's a pretty well known fact nowadays that the human brain is not a machine, and as such, needs a break every so often.
    Since small breaks are actually needed to keep the brain fresh and doing good work what do you get forbidding these things? Answer: nothing good. People will find something else to do on the breaks even if it's talking to coworkers besides the coffee machine. Besides, they will be more resented, angry and productivity will probably be lower than if they were happy.
    Of course, one thing is taking small breaks and another one is checking facebook every 5 minutes. In that case you're probably getting no work done. In the end is the same as restricting the Internet: A middle ground is probably the best choice. It also helps to communicate clearly the company policies regarding these things.
  • Slacking is slacking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BigBadRich ( 849128 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:25AM (#40038305) Homepage
    I work for a company that blocks social media, as well as "blogs" and "newsgroups" broadly categorised. Effectively the top 2-3 google results I get when searching for things like puppet recipes, or common faults are blocked. This company does NOT get social media. They asked us recently for comments regarding this policy, and I'll paraphrase mine here: Slacking off is slacking off. If people are disengaged, you don't make them more engaged by banning whatever they are doing to fill in the hours they are spending at their desk. OTOH if people are engaged, social media use might augment, rather than threaten productivity. It's interesting the number of people whose fear of social media is that it will make OTHER PEOPLE less productive. Not them of course, but "those damn kids".
    • searching for things like puppet recipes

      • remove shoe
      • remove sock from foot
      • insert hand into sock
      • Profit?

      for the pedantic, yes I know perfectly what he meant by "puppet recipe" but it's funny(er) this way

    • I work for a company that blocks social media, as well as "blogs" and "newsgroups" broadly categorised. Effectively the top 2-3 google results I get when searching for things like puppet recipes, or common faults are blocked.
      Same problem where I work. Approximately 1/3 of the google search results for solutions to issues I run into in Java are blocked by our software. One of them claimed the site was banned due to religious:wiccan content.
  • Great Idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:26AM (#40038307)

    Now we can start treating all the 'Social Networkers' as Pariahs just like we do with Smokers.

    Send them outside into the rain and snow if they want to be sociable...

    • If you want to sociable at work, try talking to your coworkers. Also, I personally lean the way if zero social networking at most workplaces because there seems yo be too many people who can't handle the alternative. The alternative being, use it as much as you want as long as you get your work done. People think if my neighbour uses it for 15 minutes it's OK if I use it for 20. And it keeps adding up from there
    • You get sent outside so you don't fucking stink up the place.

      If you want to "network", whatever. Just don't whip out the phone and start yakking into it in the office.

  • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:11AM (#40038509)

    If you have competent management they cn tell who gets work done. Unless you work in a factory where you have shift breaks you can tell who isn't pulling their weight. It doesn't matter the reason. If someone can do the work while reading slashdot a few times a day who cares?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I love that the message is tagged "fascist" :-D

  • Second hand (Score:5, Funny)

    by careysb ( 566113 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:29AM (#40039809)
    I'm concerned about second hand Facebook.
  • They can block whatever so long as they don't block /. .
  • Work: The new /. smoke break.

  • by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Friday May 18, 2012 @04:26PM (#40045655)
    You can block them and we do. We have several throughout our building to block cell phones, it's quite effective too.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell