Seven Strategies for Managing Workplace Internet Usage

As social media and personal email continue to be many individual’s primary forms of communications, it becomes harder to keep them focused at the workplace. An increase in usage of media-rich sites can place a considerable strain on limited bandwidth, which can hurt the performance of critical business tasks. The challenge is establishing a proper workplace balance that allows some personal internet usage without a related drag on business efficiency.

As a business owner or IT manager, you need tips and tactics on striking the right balance. We offer seven strategies:[wcm_restrict]

  1. Accept that employees are going to have the need to conduct some personal business. Limited usage of for example Gmail or Yahoo! Mail personal accounts should be allowed to give employees a connection to their personal lives.
  2. Use a tool that can help you accurately measure and report internet bandwidth usage. Establishing a benchmark allows you to fairly assess the situation and address the most frequented sites and the heaviest individual bandwidth users.
  3. Take a more granular approach that allows the use of certain sites, but at a throttled down bandwidth level so business processes are not slowed. By slowing the access to a site such as Facebook, employees can use the site, but might get frustrated at slow-loading page. They can then be subtly pushed back towards work-related tasks.
  4. Treat employees like grownups! Don’t publicly shame those who visit undesirable sites or who spend too much time online. Work with them to establish clear best practices.
  5. Beware of the workarounds! If you take draconian measures and restrict all personal internet usage, employees might use proxy sites or other tricks which introduce your business to malware and are difficult to manage and detect.
  6. Frame your need to limit personal web use in terms of business performance. For example, describe how streaming movies at work is severely interrupting the CRM system, which will affect everyone at bonus time.
  7. Consider tailoring access by department or individual. Marketing might need greater bandwidth for YouTube campaigns, for example.


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About the Author

Keith RossKeith Ross is product manager for Networking products at Black Box Corporation. His product line includes Ethernet switches, media converters, network security, and WAN optimization products. Keith has over 10 years experience in telecommunications and data networking. He worked at FORE Systems, Marconi, and Ericsson previously. Keith has a BSEE from Carnegie-Mellon and an MSEM from Stanford University. To learn more about Black Box, click here.

2 replies
  1. Lily92
    Lily92 says:

    For me, it’s much better if you have a tool that could help you monitor your internet usage, like a time tracking software. I am currently having a hard time managing my time and even though I have a time tracking tool, I still think it’s not enough. Although it helps a lot, some tools can be problematic. They have one thing in common, they rely on the user to estimate how much time they worked on a task. This is not really accurate because the activities aren’t tracked in real time.
    So, if you’re thinking of getting a time tracking tool, you have to make sure that it tracks time accurately.


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