Since businesses and companies started using the web as a crucial commodity in the office workspace, the ongoing argument of whether web restrictions should be implemented to maintain efficiency has continued.
According to Computerworld, more and more employees are complaining about being blocked access to certain websites during office hours. This could be severely limiting to the skills that the Generation Y possess as part of their innate ability to use unconventional sources for research information.
Over time, IT managers can determine which sites are used the most, the time individuals spend on these sites and whether they are relevant to the work they perform. Many stories over the years have encompassed employees being banned from accessing social networking sites in particular, with the view that taxpayer dollars should not pay employees to socialise.
On the other hand, employees are using unconventional and non-traditional ways of communication to enable better internal workflow. Depending on the organisation size, one company may prefer to use VoIP technology and others use instant messaging type communications over the customary email solution.
Yet students at university are more accustomed to communicating with each other over instant messaging with Facebook chat for example, as like an inbox or a instant messaging client, to the point where they buy dedicated hardware for it. Of course it offers the distraction of your vast, multilateral friendship groups offering updates on their daily lives, outside the working environment, but it works in an effective way to some.
While working with Kent Union last year, though there were fixed landline extensions to the executive branch of the small student-oriented organisation, it would be far more efficient to send a text message or Facebook them. Even here at ZDNet, the main people I speak to internally are easily accessible on Skype, instant messengers and on occasion, Facebook, with a 'common protocol' email group.
One could argue that being productive includes the employee not feeling restricted or tied down could negate the need for web restrictions. However, if employees spend their entire time on Facebook and other social networking sites, this could be counterproductive in the office environment. Though if the work gets done, who could argue?
With organisations taking the modern approach and branching away from the typical office environment, favouring the 'beer in the fridge at the corner of the office' system, the 'beanbags in the meeting room' approach or even the 'bring your pet to work day' method, Generation Y employees are expecting a more dynamic and less stringent workplace.
And, with students taking advantage of these non-traditional communication techniques, and sourcing answers from social media, Twitter, online content, forums and suchlike, policing the office web access at a managerial level will become more and more difficult.
Would web restrictions at the office be counterproductive? Can there be a valuable gain from communicating or researching using social media? Have your say; it would be most interesting to see what you think.