A few weeks ago, some bright spark in our IT team decided that it would be a wonderful idea to monitor the internet usage of the entire workforce.
Now, I’m not adverse to a little online shopping therapy myself, during my ten minute lunch break, at my desk of course. And I don’t mind if my staff adopt a similar sensible usage policy of their own, although I can spot a Facebook
fix at ten paces just by hovering near the culprit’s desk. The hurried scrabble as they try to look really busy, while finding a suitable looking spreadsheet with which to hide their ruse, is a dead giveaway.
So seeing as I have my own controls already in place, I was none too pleased when my boss pounced on this ground-breaking idea. She decided in one of her worryingly frequent “nothing better to do moments” that each of us managers should receive a monthly report that itemised each staff member’s internet usage.
A few days later an internet usage manual thudded on to my desk, courtesy of the obviously time-rich HR manager.
A hard copy mind you, so it looks as though our new eco-friendly office policy has already bitten the dust. Or maybe I misheard, and it’s only applicable when we’re promoting our green investment opportunities to clients.
The document, with the added support of visual aids comprising dubious screen shots, guided me through the different internet usage misdemeanours to look out for.
A whole section was dedicated to the action required in every conceivable event. For example, if a member of my team had visited a gay or lesbian website I was expected to ask them if they wished to discuss their sexuality. There was even a section to assist me if I suspected a gun crime might be about to take place or if a member of the team had looked at a hip hop or gang culture site. Strangely, however, there were no instructions to offer counselling for extended usage on shopping sites. A pity, as this type of surfing scored highest in the usage pie chart example for my team.
So, after several hours out of my hectic work schedule, I now feel suitably empowered to deal with the mammoth stealing of time activities committed by my staff.
I said to my boss the time that will be spent discussing the usage with each staff member might be better spent with them doing actual work. But my boss huffed something about “reining in the lazy ones” as she clicked away from the www.match.com
screen that I spotted open on her PC.
I walked away, making a mental note to check the manual for aid on what the most appropriate way to handle a 40-something woman addicted to online dating sites was. Funnily enough, none was provided.