Should your small business be practicing web filtering?

Have you ever had those moments where you sat down at the computer to complete a task, but quickly became distracted by something else? With so many distracting things readily available for us online, this is commonplace. Unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen at home, either — employees belonging to companies of all sizes and industries are just as susceptible to wasting time online.

In fact, the website Salary.com conducted a survey that showed 69 percent of men and 62 percent of women admitted to visiting websites for personal use while they were on the job. Of those, some respondents admitted to wasting more than 10 hours in a single week.

And, when it comes to wasting time at work, social media is one of the primary culprits along with online shopping, checking personal e-mail and even looking for another job.

As a business owner, you likely see wasted money and cringe. However, solving this problem isn’t necessarily as easy and blocking the most common time-wasting sites. Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument for web filtering.

 

Benefits of web filtering

That same survey from Salary.com showed that 30 percent of companies do indeed block personal sites like Twitter, Facebook and more. It’s a relatively common practice and comes with a variety of benefits, including:

  • Freeing up bandwidth
  • Decrease potential cybersecurity threats (i.e. phishing, etc.)
  • Minimize liability from employee illegal activity
  • Increase productivity

All of these benefits equate to more money. However, blocking websites might not necessarily foster much goodwill with employees, many of whom claim to visit these websites as a break of sorts from their monotonous day.

If you don’t want to start blocking websites right out of the gate, you can also consider monitoring internet usage at your company to determine if an inordinate amount of time is being spent on personal-use websites. Then you can address it.

 

Not a bullet-proof approach to productivity

Not only can some employees react negatively to being barred from visiting certain websites for personal use or having an employer monitor what they’re doing online, this approach might not even prove effective. This is especially the case for social media, where employees can just as easily use their personal devices and cellular data to access their accounts.

However, even though web filtering will not solve all of your problems associated with employees wasting time, it certainly does benefit your company’s cybersecurity, which should be your top priority.

Working alongside trained IT professionals to appropriately filter out certain websites or monitor employee behavior online is your best bet. These professionals can help you make choices that will ultimately benefit the productivity of your business.