Web policies can drive away potential employees

When writing web use policies, IT departments need to find a balance between protecting the company’s interests and keeping users happy and productive. And that’s not easy.

Trust is important to today’s employees. In fact, 79% say that, aside from job role and salary, the most important thing in a job is being trusted to manage their own time and workload, including being trusted to use the Internet as they wish.

That’s according to recent survey of 1,200 employees and managers in the U.S. and Europe by security firm Clearswift.

Naturally, that desire for independence extends to employees’ views on using sites like Facebook and Twitter at work — 62% of employees feel they should be allowed to access social networking sites at work.

And more than half (51%) of their managers agree.

Perhaps most surprisingly, 21% of employees said they would actually turn down a job if they felt the company’s web policies were too strict.

What does that mean for IT? Experts recommend IT departments avoid strictly forbidding or physical blocking sites, instead relying on monitoring web use and working with managers to deal with productivity problems as they come up.

Also, periodically reminding employees that their computer use is being watched can go a long way toward stopping problematic web browsing.