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A Modest Proposal: Kill the Web

It???s time to stop letting users have access to the Web at work. Companies that take this bold (though unpopular) step will reap substantial rewards. Here???s why....

It???s time to stop letting users have access to the Web at work. Companies that take this bold (though unpopular) step will reap substantial rewards. Here???s why. First, giving users Web access is akin to flushing fistfuls of cash down the company toilets. According to a survey conducted by AOL and Salary.com, employees waste slightly more than two hours a day at the office above and beyond lunch and scheduled breaks. Salary.com also estimates that businesses spend $759 billion per year ???on salaries for which real work was expected, but not actually performed.???

The biggest time waster is Web surfing, according to 44.7 percent of respondents. Therefore, if we are to believe Salary.com???s figures, personal Web use costs businesses approximately $364 billion a year. (Socializing with coworkers was rated the second biggest time waster, at 23.4 percent. That???s a loss of approximately $174 billion, but you may just have to eat that unless you can find a way to shackle employees to their desks without violating state and local health codes.)

Web use is also responsible for the continuing plague of spyware and adware infestations. No browsing means no more spending three hours trying to pry CoolWebSearch off some moron???s PC.

Finally, the Web is essentially a lawsuit waiting to happen. Employees who visit porn and hate sites at the office create a hostile (and liable) work environment. Employees who download pirated music and software invite the wrath of the Recording Industry Association of America and the Business Software Alliance upon the company.

Of course you???ll have to create exceptions to the no-Web rule. Certain job functions (such as tech reporting, network managing, and chief executing) require free, unfettered and unmonitored Internet connectivity. However, you may want to keep those exceptions hush-hush so as not to harm morale.

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio
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