By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-06-18 Print this article Print

It should also be noted that the idea of productivity slipping due to more access to the Web is a red herring. Whether companies want to admit it or not, they can't block every Website. And no matter how hard their employers try, employees will gain access to sites that the company missed. And the worst part is, they'll be even less productive.

Employees are spending more time trying to find ways around the firewalls than working. If they had access to the sites they wanted to see, they'd go there and get back to work sooner.

Along that same line, it's important to remember that productivity can actually increase by allowing it to decrease. Yes, that might sound counter-intuitive, but hear me out. 

It's December and employee A is really behind on their holiday shopping. They want to get a few things for the kids at work today, but when they get there, they realize they can't access the online store they wanted to buy the products from. So, they decide to go on their lunch hour to a brick-and-mortar to get the products. The only trouble is, the lines are long, traffic is bad, and whoops -- that one-hour lunch break just turned into a two-hour lunch break.

It gets worse. That same employee is so far behind on their holiday shopping that they have no other option -- they need to take a Friday off to make sure it's done before the holidays. That's eight hours of lost work all because the employee didn't have a chance to buy gifts online at work. Buying gifts online would have taken no more than one hour. That company just lost eight hours. It's simple math.

And that's the biggest issue with the enterprise blocking Websites. It might make sense at first glance, but if we take a rational look at things, it's actually clear that it's quite the opposite -- firewalls cause more headaches.

So, maybe it's time companies stop focusing on limiting employees and start figuring out how to make them happier and thus, keep them working. Running scared isn't the best option. Freedom and education is the business world's best bet.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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