Change Screens, Quick, It's the Boss!

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In what I suspect is an argument with a great deal of relevance to many of our regular readers, Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds stands up against employers who are trying to "crack down" on Internet access by their employees. Reynolds defends output, not time spent (or not spent) IMing, as the relevant metric for smart managers.

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  1. I see no-one’s commented on this yet; guess I’ll check back in the morning.

    (from work.)

  2. Being the boss has it’s advantages.

    In addition, anything that keeps government employees from surfing the web on the public dime is a good thing.

  3. Yeah, time spent surfing EBay (or reading H&R) used to be spent playing with the fonts and borders in Word. If you feel someone is wasting time, give them more work to do.

  4. anything that keeps government employees from surfing the web on the public dime is a good thing

    How ’bout giving them new titles. Seems to have reduced joe’s contributions of late.

  5. Morons who surf the net while working for somebody else are thieves. Morons who waste time on the net while working for themselves are, well, morons. I recently read that one out of every 136 Americans is in jail. Obviously, many more should be. The American work ethic is shameful. Americans spend well beyond their means and save practically zilch. Eventually the whole economy will crash, and then we’ll se how many jackoffs have the means to loaf on the net.

  6. Hey Bob – this is your boss. Quit slacking and get back to work.

  7. Better way to surf at work:

    1) Pop up the browser long enough to select all the text and copy (PC CTRL-A followed by CTRL-C)

    2) Go into Notepad, paste (to remove all non-textual info).

    3) Select all and copy from Notepad

    4) Go into Outlook, create a new message, paste the text into the message body and save as draft.

    5) Open the draft and read, as though you were reading your email. No browser, no “surfing at work” problem – voila!

    For the longest time, I didn’t even know who the “carpet-humping guy” was. Serious.

  8. Well, it’s not like I’m billing clients when I read a blog at work. Though I bet there are lawyers who do. . . .

    Back in my in-house days, my advice on our computer-use policy was to accept a certain amount of goofing off on the web. People have found other things to do during work since the Before Time. And I don’t think a straight 8-10 hours of work is maximizing productivity, anyway. The truth of the matter is that management should have some clue as to what quantity and quality of work their employees should be producing. If they aren’t reaching some optimal level, for whatever reason, then that’s your problem. Not the fact that they goof off on the web, talk on the phone, do crossword puzzles, gossip, smoke, etc.

  9. “Morons who surf the net while working for somebody else are thieves.”

    totally awesome thieves, you mean.

  10. I was once a “manager” of about six people at my current company – it was probably the worst one month experience in my career. Aside from the mind-numbing tedium of keeping track of how many widgets they processed per day, there was the fact that I had nothing to do most of the day (this was when few of us had internet access). And I don’t like to “chat” or “goof off” with coworkers, most of whom I loathe, so I switched departments and became a peon programmer & love it. But at least now I understand the true difficulty of being a manager and how hard it is to fill your days.

  11. “Morons who surf the net while working for somebody else are thieves. …”

    Someone sounds suspiciously jealous of our freedoms.

  12. “Peter: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door – that way Lumbergh can’t see me, heh – after that I sorta space out for an hour.

    Bob: Da-uh? Space out?

    Peter: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.”

    Just substitute “web surfing” for “space out”, and I’d say productivity isn’t affected one bit by employees web surfing.

  13. Morons who surf the net while working for somebody else are thieves.

    People who work for companies that won’t let them have any fun are too moronic to find better jobs.

    Morons who waste time on the net while working for themselves are, well, morons.

    Morons who think work is all there is to life are, well, entirely too common.

    Americans spend well beyond their means and save practically zilch.

    And die deep in debt, at least that’s my plan. Every dollar in your bank account when you die is a dollar you could have spent on something fun.

  14. Better Way to Surf:

    What?? And miss out on the next RPG appearance??

  15. I agree with Pro Libertate.

    Also, one way in which web access has improved productivity is that my secretary (and everyone else’s) is much more likely to be at her desk when I need her. She spends her free moments surfing instead of wandering off to talk to buddies by the copier or in the restroom. In the old days, there used to be long stretches when secretaries just seemed to disappear.

  16. I think the problem is that managers are still lookingat this whole thing from an “it’s gonna rot your brain” standpoint.

    A large portion of the non-work surfing in often reading news or looking something up, so these folk become better infromed workers. As for workers who look at sporting events or even porn, I contend that these activities are not wholly unproductive.

    One of the most overlooked attribute to workers is their morale. If someone is happy or entertained, they work faster and with fewer errors than some guy who just got chewed out by his boss for checking the hockey scores.

    Obviously, there are always going to be exceptions, but, as Reynolds said, the boss needs to worry more about lack of output.

    It just like the drug testing thing, a boss will know someone is incompetent long before is shows up in a drug screening or a web-site scan.

  17. Two addendae:

    1. Excuse the misspellings, it’s still early, and

    2. Fucking “A” to WindyPundit. I don’t plan on having kids (who, in this day and age, will end up on some gub’ment program) and I sure as hell am not going to have a penny left to pay the Estate Tax.

    It’s like a final “fuck you” to the I.R.S.

  18. My father runs a large, very successful business and this is one of his major “gripes”. He’s been running it for over 30 years, so he has a good handle on employee productivity both pre and post internet. He generally treats it as par for the course, especially considering that the internet also allows for great increases in productivity, but he’s definitely had to let people go who spend far too much time on the internet and not enough time doing their job.

    Really, what it comes down to is that the internet is just a much better distraction and far easier to cover up than chatting by the water cooler. As long as the work gets done it isn’t a problem, but let’s face it…the internet is an addictive time-sink, and that’s why I love it.

  19. I’m kind of baffled at why workplace web access became so widespread in the first place, inasmuch as I, and I think so many others, have so little occasion to use it in a work context. Would it ever have occurred to employers to put a TV with cable access on every employees desk, to enable them to watch educational programming relevant to their work?

    I suspect that all that web access really does, though, as others here have pointed out, is encourage workers to utilize their idle time more productively than before, and possibly to be more productive in the first place in order to free up more surfing time.

  20. I’m typing at work right now! Liberating. Yes, I’m sockin’ it to the Man.

  21. For the longest time, I didn’t even know who the “carpet-humping guy” was. Serious.

    I don’t mind CHG. But that wrecking ball unnerves me. Sometimes I even have to do some work, just to get away from it.

  22. ProL: but… but… aren’t YOU the man?

  23. True story:

    My boss IM’d me a link to that story yesterday afternoon.

  24. VM, you’ve seen past my charade. In fact, I am the Man. Shouldn’t you be working on something?

  25. ProL:
    yessir. am on it. and note the proper cover sheet.

    🙂

  26. Shit! It’s THE MAN! Kill it, kill it, kill it…

  27. taktix, you can try to kill me, but it’ll be hard to do while I’m keeping you down.

  28. PL sticks it to himself!

  29. Timothy, go crunch some numbers for me. I don’t need them, I just want to amuse myself at your expense. Get me some coffee, too, biotch.

    Admire my French cuffs and highly starched shirt. Yes.

  30. Maybe I’m unsophisticated, but for some reason I absolutely love the “Sticking it to the Man” ads for Sprint.

  31. Numbers? Hooray! I love numbers.

    But I’m peeing in your coffee.

  32. What’s really bad is when your boss calls you into his office and just as you reach his door you realize he called you by your H&R nom de plume.

  33. What’s really bad is when your boss calls you into his office and just as you reach his door you realize he called you by your H&R nom de plume.

  34. What’s really bad is when your boss calls you into his office and just as you reach his door you realize he called you by your H&R nom de plume.

  35. Did Glenn hear from workers at Cato who recently rose up to demand a dismantling of the free-thing think tank’s firewall?

  36. free-thinking

  37. When I want to talk to my boss, I have to log on to Everquest 2.

  38. NoStar,

    Really? That’s funny and terrible. Maybe I should switch my cognomen like Hak does. Maybe Pro Mammis or something radically different like that, to throw off the scent.

  39. NoStar:

    do tell! do tell!

  40. And die deep in debt, at least that’s my plan. Every dollar in your bank account when you die is a dollar you could have spent on something fun.

    Comment by: Windypundit at May 23, 2006 01:03 AM

    Only one problem. This has vexed economists in determining what an individual should rationally save. You don’t know whwn you will die. Live longer than you think, run out of money. Die sooner, too much saving.

  41. bounce a check at 83, commit suicide.

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