Internet temptation?

BBC NEWS: Job losses over eBay ‘addiction’

A council in south Wales has fired nine of its staff for spending “up to two hours per day” on eBay. The council has a policy of allowing their staff access to the Internet, but insist that they use it in their own time - which presumably means breaks - not in council time.

The really extraordinary thing about this is that the welfare officer for Unison, the public service union, alleged that “temption was put in their way” by the management by allowing them Internet access! Perhaps he is suggesting that workers should not be allowed it, then? If a worker is using his paid work time to do personal shopping, he is an irresponsible person who is effectively stealing from his employer and ought to be fired; the whole workforce should not be punished by having their access removed in the name of removing “temptation”, as this guy is suggesting.

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with having a news page open and glancing at it, or refreshing it, every so often, as long as you actually get the work done. Anyone who suggests that workers should be treated like children and have this “temptation” taken away from them really shouldn’t be speaking for their union.

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  • Heh. I’d just posted a browser addon which blocks sites for you according to time periods that you set. It’s extreme to completely revoke access from employees. At the same time an employee should be responsible enough to take action when he recognises an unethical addiction on his part. Besides the addon, there’re other ways he can keep himself in check. Like having a colleague check up on him. Mine always gives a shoutout when she notices absolute silence from my cubicle. Like “Oi, did you fall asleep!” Except she doesn’t say oi, and I wasn’t asleep.

  • From a company’s point of view, its not just excessive time spent on the internet by employees, there’s also the problem of bandwidth being saturated when employees browse sites like YouTube. My company has software that blocks access to restricted sites like YouTube and even web-based email sites throughout the day except for a two-hour spell during lunch.