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      12-20-2019, 08:30 AM   #1
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Angry Workplace Rant - Internet Access Threats of Turning It Off

Greetings,

I work for a small engineering company, run and owned by a guy that still thinks and operates as though it was 1996 - old, archaic and draconian is how I would describe the workplace environment.

The other day the VP of sales calls all of the sales group into a two-minute meeting and goes on to state that no one should be using the Internet for anything other work-related items. He mentioned several people specifically, I was not one of them since I rarely go anywhere besides Slashdot.com of here at M3post.com. There are others who egregiously abuse and openly watch YouTube videos, Fox News, ESPN and even one guy who's always playing blackjack.

My question for all you guys is, does your company have the same kind of rules or approach that you cannot use the Internet for anything else besides work? Or is there a certain amount of trust that people will make good decisions on their own?

Oh, I almost forgot, at the meeting the guy said that they may just turn off access altogether and even not allow people to use their smartphones either. So am I being just over-reactive or is this something that exists everywhere else?

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Merlin
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      12-20-2019, 08:36 AM   #2
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seems to be a common complaint on the forum. freshen up your resume?
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      12-20-2019, 08:37 AM   #3
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I think you'll find that most medium to larger organizations have rules/guidelines around internet access and use. Not to be a dick, but you are being paid to do a job not surf the interwebs. If the company wanted to be asshats they could fire a few of the worst offenders.

Having said all of that, a reasonable employer would allow a bit of latitude within reason.
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      12-20-2019, 08:39 AM   #4
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Did you make this post from work?

Rebel.
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      12-20-2019, 08:40 AM   #5
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The fact that the VP came in and addressed the staff and had specific details also indicates that they are watching so govern yourself accordingly.
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      12-20-2019, 08:40 AM   #6
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We aren't 'allowed' to sit and watch Netflix or play games, but occasional browsing isn't going to get us fired. I have YouTube open 95% of the time for music, and during lunch I'll sit down and watch a video or 2. We are at work and being paid, so if we aren't actually working, then that is obviously a problem.

If they do actually 'turn off' your internet access in your building, just hotspot your phone.
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      12-20-2019, 08:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyFSU View Post
Did you make this post from work?

Rebel.

Ha,ha, ha - I DID ! But I also got in at 4:59 - following the FIFO rules for Friday

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      12-20-2019, 08:46 AM   #8
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I feel like if the company is having productivity issues from their staff it's justified, but some people just have nothing better to do than worry about what other people are doing.

I surf the forum constantly, but I also have one of the highest productivity rates on my team because I'm always multitasking and have multiple screens and windows open. If I need to get caught up on stuff, I definitely won't be on here.
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      12-20-2019, 08:51 AM   #9
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Virtually every company has a policy that their electronic resources must be used for company use only. People are given some latitude as a general rule of thumb - your situation sounds like a case of a few bad apples ruining the bunch, I'm afraid.
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      12-20-2019, 09:01 AM   #10
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It's a problem for sure. I have been in management for many years and like to keep a free and happy workforce - but there is ALWAYS one douche that ruins it for everyone. In a perfect work people would be judged on their work and if all the work gets done - we ignore what they do with downtime. But some will always work to the level that the whip requires and you can't show favoritism in today's world. And I am a true believer that the employees should help police themselves.

I am by nature, a jerk. I'm ok with that. I'm the first guy to help anyone with anything , but if something needs to be said - I am probably the one that will say it first. People know this and will let me know when they think something needs to be said but are too gutless to say it themselves. I'm ok with this. So before I was in management - I could always be seen as the "enforcer" of sorts. It usually started as a passive aggressive "If you get us all banned from the internet, we will hang you in the garage after work" type of loud comments to rally the troops to my cause with a few "yeah!" from them to show solidarity. Then it might escalate to a water cooler sidebar where I give them the "someone is going to sort this - so it can be you or someone else, but we are not going down for you" type of conversation. This is probably how I wound up in management decades ago as I always found myself in the office spokesman role because people trusted me and I would say what they were thinking.

I think you have just heard the warning shot. Believe me - if they just wanted to kill the internet - they would have. This was them telling you - we are ok with some, but you outliers better get it together. But of course those people are stupid and never see themselves as the problem and will continue to do so. This is where you come in. Make a mental note of the worst 1-2 offenders. Casually bring it up to others at your level and see if they feel the same way. Then when you see the blatant Youtube watching or whatever - call them out in a causal way - but other must hear you. Most will never say anything directly, but when you open the door some will walk through wit you. A casual "you better not get our internet removed!!!" outloud will semi-shame them in front of their coworkers and might correct it.

Whatever you do - you can't blame the management. Imagine you see the bill for wages and benefits each year and understand that all those wages result in less profits for you. They are necessary for you to make those profits however and happy employees make you $ - and thus you share. But when you walk through the office and see 25% of them watching TV - it would not give you a great feeling would it? You might start thinking that if they have enough time to do that - do you need to scale back? When bonus or raise time comes around - might that not factor into your decision making? In other words - these people might be taking away your internet access and/or wages, bonuses or even jobs. That always made it easier for me to punk them out. I'm not losing $ out of my pocket because you are a shit employee - so get it together.

I had a job once that had quarterly profit sharing bonuses. It was a smaller manufacturing facility that made it's name on quality above all else. He had trouble with people being on their phones too much and not doing the required QC checks as often as he required. He spoke till he was blue in the face, then told me he had a new idea. He walked the floor most days on each shift with his notepad. Come bonus time he would sit each employee down and hand them their fat checks some would be surprised that theirs was lower than expected. He would then show them his note book with the tick for each time he saw them on their phones after being told not to - and each came with a $100 deduction from the bonus check. The main offenders were hit hardest of course, but those $ went back into the pool so the non-offenders actually got bigger checks because it it. Genius. I will tell you the phone issue became far less of an issue after that and when the offenders complained - the other employees back the owner because they just got a better check. I always looked at that sly old bastard differently after that. He didn't even tell me what he was doing and I was his 2nd in command. He wanted no one warned for maximum value.

So again - I think your bosses are imploring you and your coworkers to fix the issue - or they will. I'd take that warning and fix the issue and maybe even make yourself the office hero. Who cares if the abusers get butthurt at you - they are the reason the rest of you are suffering. Screw them. Rally the troops and keep the office a fun place to work.
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      12-20-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
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I work from home. I use the work laptop for work and my own computer to stream music, watch tv and goof off, it's nice having a 43" 4K monitor. It's painful when I have to go into the office, but I do tend to just use my phone for all things personal.
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      12-20-2019, 09:23 AM   #12
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Every 6 months or so the boss catches someone screwing around on facebook or shopping and has the office manager send a passive aggressive email about it. Everyone just watches their back for about a week or so and then goes right back to screwing around. Im at now and screwing around on forums but Fridays are really slow for me this time of year.
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      12-20-2019, 09:35 AM   #13
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I have a university-owned laptop that is hooked up to a large monitor. That is what I use for university business. I have nothing personal on it and do nothing but university business on it. I also have my own Optiplex 7050 mini sitting on my desk. I use that to VPN into my home network and I use remote desktop to access my home PC. So any non-work related surfing I do (such as this post) is done on my own network and my own home machine. So there's little to no chance of anything bad happening to the university network or machines.

That said, this probably wouldn't work for your situation. Most companies (if their IT staff is decent), wouldn't allow you to use a VPN on their network unless they set it up. And it still doesn't get around the fact that you're on their time, regardless of whose machine your using. Universities are a bit more forgiving about time, especially with folks like me who are basically always available to help solve issues, including nights, weekends, and when I'm on vacation.

If I ran a private company IT system, I'd have it locked down tighter than a drum. Nothing is worse for a company than having your servers and desktops taken over with ransomware. And an engineering firm probably has a lot of intellectual property to protect. They have every right to be overly protective of that.

If you have a decent data plan, you might consider a cheap Chromebook and link out through your phone. At least that way no one at your company can track what you do.
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      12-20-2019, 09:50 AM   #14
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First question I have is if there is a written policy in the employee handbook which you acknowledge having read? While many companies are loose with this, they have to have some documentation some where and be able to produce it if there is legal action. Having a verbal statement of acceptable use of corporate provided Internet is not enough.

When I was working as a contractor for the Feds, we had to go one step further and put up a notification banner when you first log in stating the system you're logging in to is being monitored, etc, etc. Most of the companies I've worked for have this. All of this is to create a lock tight situation in case an employee is dismissed for abuse of corporate resources and the employee can't state they didn't know.
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      12-20-2019, 09:57 AM   #15
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Most company computers that have some sort of IT support have a warning when you log on that indicates the computer is to be used for company and not personal business.
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      12-20-2019, 10:18 AM   #16
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the best thing company can do is block those most visited sites.
my firm use internet for a lot of things ie: equipment, property info, dobnow, file sharing etc
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      12-20-2019, 10:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M_Six View Post
If I ran a private company IT system, I'd have it locked down tighter than a drum. Nothing is worse for a company than having your servers and desktops taken over with ransomware. And an engineering firm probably has a lot of intellectual property to protect. They have every right to be overly protective of that.
I don't know what it is with the entitled millennials who think that work is an extension of the Friends coffee shop, where Internet access is free and they don't need to actually earn a pay check.

There are several industries where EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO ON A COMPUTER must be logged, archived, and is subject to e-discovery by lawyers on a whim. Being the person who has to fulfill those e-discovery requests for my employer, I BEG my colleagues not to use their work computers for any personal stuff. I can't tell you the personal stuff that I've seen come up in searches, just that everything that matches the requested search filter is turned over.

If you're bored, the entire corporate e-mail archive for Enron is available publicly online to peruse, and used for training in forensic searches.....
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      12-20-2019, 10:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
I don't know what it is with the entitled millennials who think that work is an extension of the Friends coffee shop, where Internet access is free and they don't need to actually earn a pay check.

There are several industries where EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO ON A COMPUTER must be logged, archived, and is subject to e-discovery by lawyers on a whim. Being the person who has to fulfill those e-discovery requests for my employer, I BEG my colleagues not to use their work computers for any personal stuff. I can't tell you the personal stuff that I've seen come up in searches, just that everything that matches the requested search filter is turned over.

If you're bored, the entire corporate e-mail archive for Enron is available publicly online to peruse, and used for training in forensic searches.....
Well said. It's not private, it is the property of your employer. Too many folks seem to think they are entitled to their entitlements.
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      12-20-2019, 10:35 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
I don't know what it is with the entitled millennials who think that work is an extension of the Friends coffee shop, where Internet access is free and they don't need to actually earn a pay check.

There are several industries where EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO ON A COMPUTER must be logged, archived, and is subject to e-discovery by lawyers on a whim. Being the person who has to fulfill those e-discovery requests for my employer, I BEG my colleagues not to use their work computers for any personal stuff. I can't tell you the personal stuff that I've seen come up in searches, just that everything that matches the requested search filter is turned over.

If you're bored, the entire corporate e-mail archive for Enron is available publicly online to peruse, and used for training in forensic searches.....
It has zero to do with millennials, FYI. I've worked with people of all ages who didn't GAF and were fired for abusing the internet during work hours.
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      12-20-2019, 10:35 AM   #20
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From the employer side of this, unfortunately rules are made when people take advantage. I'm paying you to do a job, do it. For the record, I treat my employees the way I want to be treated.

I don't have a problem if someone is on the internet here and there if they are getting their job done. BUT you are on my clock. I'm paying you. You're mine while you're here. We had a few BIG offenders and wound up limiting access to certain sites.

That was quite a few years ago. Now that everyone has smart phones and internet access, you have the people that want to play all day on their phones. So I have to have managers be kindergarten teachers and pay attention to those few bad apples. What a waste of resources. Catch them, warn them, address them yet again, write them up, rinse, repeat and fire them if necessary. I had one guy watching videos on his phone all freaking day long. Stay home, I'm not paying you for that shit.

My rant in response to OP rant

Happy Friday everyone.
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      12-20-2019, 10:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty Dog View Post
The fact that the VP came in and addressed the staff and had specific details also indicates that they are watching so govern yourself accordingly.
I have to agree. Candidly, with all the concern around viruses, protection of proprietary information, and potential for abuse am not surprised by your company addressing this issue. There’s just too much risk and potential for exposure.
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      12-20-2019, 10:37 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by cmyx6go View Post
From the employer side of this, unfortunately rules are made when people take advantage. I'm paying you to do a job, do it. For the record, I treat my employees the way I want to be treated.

I don't have a problem if someone is on the internet here and there if they are getting their job done. BUT you are on my clock. I'm paying you. You're mine while you're here. We had a few BIG offenders and wound up limiting access to certain sites.

That was quite a few years ago. Now that everyone has smart phones and internet access, you have the people that want to play all day on their phones. So I have to have managers be kindergarten teachers and pay attention to those few bad apples. What a waste of resources. Catch them, warn them, address them yet again, write them up, rinse, repeat and fire them if necessary. I had one guy watching videos on his phone all freaking day long. Stay home, I'm not paying you for that shit.

My rant in response to OP rant

Happy Friday everyone.

We had a guy in another agency running his own porn website on a company owned machine.

So many rules violated, yet it was a struggle to fire him somehow due to HR, him pulling the discrimination card, etc.


Basically the only way we got him fired was stating that he was a threat to the network and if anything happened we weren't responsible due to HR's inaction.
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