June 1, 2020

Should you block certain categories of websites in your office / co-working?

The Article deals with websites belonging to certain categories that ought to be blocked on your Office / Enterprise network for increased productivity.

If there is one thing that is constant regarding the modern-day corporate environment, it has to be “change”. Society has become so dynamic with globalization, that things are progressing faster than they ever have. Today, constant and unyielding productivity is a necessity to stay the course amidst such cutthroat competition.

Here, we are going to look at certain websites that hamper productivity and devour your precious bandwidth and should be banned on your office network:

Online world of distraction

1. Streaming Websites:

With an increase in video streaming platforms and the rise of kings of gripping stories like Netflix and Amazon Prime, online streaming has touched new heights. Not bound by any censor boards, online shows are pushing the limits of human emotions and perspectives and in turn drawing in huge crowds. While all that is excellent from an entertainment point of view, it is a serious threat to productivity when looked at from a professional point of view.

flat screen television displaying Netflix logo
Online Streaming
A 2019 research conducted by Florida State University in association with Softonic concludes that about 37% of Netflix users and 33% of Hulu users admitted to watching the streaming services at work.

Putting these stats into perspective, one in every three employees is killing time watching Narcos on any particular day, so if you aren’t, then probably one of your coworkers on either side of your cubicle is. One thing that is clear, however, is that not a lot of work is getting done.

To get things back on track, it would be worth your while to block websites like - HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Prime, etc.

2. Social Media:

It’s a bright sunny day, you feel really great and want to express it to the entire world. What could be better than a Facebook post with an image of a bouquet of Daffodils and a nice short poem or quote? Moreover, creating a small post would take away say 2 minutes at max, how could that probably hamper anything you are up to?

Society Loaded
The eternal psychological loop begins, screwing your mind!

But damn! No sooner do you log in, that random NEWS from across the globe begins to pour in. You see a post that you find highly offensive. You leave a couple of curses in the comment, report it and decide to move on, but before you can do that, you have a reply. You can’t stand it anymore and retaliate with your own reply. The chain continues with your friends/supporters/random dudes from across the network all popping in and leaving their opinions there, about which nobody actually cares any more than how much you actually do.

After a while when you finally realize it is not worth wasting your time arguing with reasonless people and decide to carry on with your work, to your horror, more than an hour has already passed that actually made you lose your mind, brawl with strangers and lose precious productivity.

Hence we recommend blocking all nonessential social media sites or at least block them for employees who don’t need them. Of course, your marketing wing still needs access to Social Media, but your Development team or your account team doesn’t.

3. Online Gaming:

Does anything even need to be said about why online gaming should be blocked during office hours? Some of you are not going to agree since “Games” is a trans world definition by itself with implications reaching far and wide. Some games like Rapid Chess and Go Online could actually help develop strategic thinking, but that is not what we quite like. Do we? Maybe a meagre 1% of us do, but as for the rest, we just wanna brawl and shoot the hell outta a certain level-specific number of Aliens/Nazis/Soviets/Other random villains.

Moments of Joy and Nostalgia?

What is even more, the rise of online gaming has made matters worse, by adding a human element to what earlier used to be simply dumb AI. This has made games all the more addictive. Video games work in a way similar to how drugs do- there is a cue and there is a reward, but now the added human element, death-matches, leaderboards, etc are there to feed your ego as well.

Gaming giants know that. They know an aggressive player is a vulnerable player and will end up buying one of their in-game boosters after meeting with defeat a couple of times. The cycle of defeat, victory, cue, and reward is so enticing that you might end up wasting 3-4 hours at a stretch even before you realize. This, of course, is not at all productive for the company, apart from being unprofessional on your part.

Therefore, a blockade seems a reasonable choice for a productivity-oriented employer.

4. Online Shopping:

Experts say, any average individual who shops often that is about 10-11% of the populace, can find him/herself spending around 2-3 hours online every day.

According to Ruth Engs from Indiana University, some people, as they shop, their brain releases endorphins and dopamine, and over time, these feelings become addictive.

Shopping online is an activity that could go on for long long hours and since it is passive enough unless the searcher is somehow overcome by a sense of urgency, we don’t even tend to realize how much time we have already wasted doing the same.

Recommendation - Block all online shopping sites.

5. Inappropriate Websites:

Lastly, but most importantly, websites that must be blocked are the ones that are inappropriate, pertaining to dating, promote scam or are offensive/adult in nature. Apart from being highly unprofessional and heinous, they could land you in legal trouble. They can also pose a security risk to your employees, network and devices. Incidents where employees have been honey-trapped and then blackmailed into divulging organizational secrets are a commonplace nowadays.

Stop! Before its too late.

Not to mention the fact that such shady websites are a hotbed for scammers from around the world and any link that is clicked can lead to trouble. Any file or program downloaded from these places has the potential to hold your machines and your ransom.

Conclusion

To sum all that up, we discussed the sort of websites that should be blocked in office spaces and the generic list includes websites falling within the domain of Social Media, Streaming, Gaming, Shopping and Inappropriate ones like- dating/scam websites. Although there exist certain gray areas regarding same and we encourage employers to exercise discretion before taking action. Please feel free to share if you liked this content and do let us know in the comments if there is anything that we have left out. Cheers and Happy Reading.