Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 03/Feb/2005: "Employer vs. Employee?"

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Employer vs. Employee?

The discussion about surfing the web at work isn't new and companies handle it differently. But two recent news items put together give an interesting contrast: First a software to bill employees for personal internet usage and second increasing amounts of unpaid overtime. OK, these two things don't necessarily happen together, but if they do it would be interesting.

If a company needs to resort to track what their employees do on the web and bill them for "wasted time" I wouldn't be surprised if the company has much bigger problems anyway. As long as the employees get their job done I doubt a company needs to be worried about them surfing the web. If a company has a policy about downloading illegal materials (be they software or unlicensed music) and the employee violates/ignores this policy the company has a discipline issue the software won't really address either.

Billing employees for the bandwidth for some personal research sounds just petty at current bandwidth costs, also keeping in mind that employees often spend their personal money and/or time for work. Overtime is often unpaid (and even expected), I doubt employees will claim back every penny they spend for work. Most companies nowadays expect their employees to be increasingly flexible, employees then expect the same from their employer. All within reason obviously, but as mentioned earlier blatant abuses shouldn't need this micromanaging software.

So why would any modern and flexible company use this software?

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