Support Employee Safety and Productivity at Your Company

It’s easier than you might think—they go hand in hand!

Have you ever been diligently working, when the thought pops into your head: “I wonder what happened to Joe Shmo from high school?” 

…and then twenty minutes later, you’re neck-deep in old Facebook photos, and you’ve bought those slippers on Instagram your cousin told you about. 

It’s easy to lose time on the internet—that’s no surprise. But it’s particularly easy to lose time at work, where we’re even more ready to be distracted from our tasks. 

When employees have full access to entertainment, news, and clickbait on the web, company productivity often drops. Whether it’s TikTok, CNN, or more nefarious sites, most employees are “guilty” of browsing the web at work.

These habits have repercussions—not just for employees (who might suffer the consequences by not hitting deadlines, or having a decreased attention span), but for the company too. 

Cost of Productivity 

Studies show employees spend upwards of 40 minutes a day on social media while they are at work, and then usually need an additional period of time to re-focus on their tasks. Distracted and disengaged employees are costing companies millions of dollars a year. Individual productivity has an immediate impact on revenue and company functionality—from prompt responses on emails, to sales, and customer service. 

Cyber Safety 

Distracted browsing also leads to cybersecurity issues, again for both individual employees and for their company. Whenever a user inputs their personal information into a work device, they endanger their network through account takeover. Cyber attackers are always finding ways to steal credentials (combinations of emails and passwords), financial data (like credit card numbers), and other personal information. The more pieces of information an employee puts online, the easier it is for a cyberattacker to take advantage of them—leading to major issues like ransomware attacks. 

So what’s the solution?  

It’s time for companies to address the impact social media and free internet use is having on productivity and safety at work. Monitoring or checking employee internet use can feel a little like an invasion of privacy—but it doesn’t have to. There are ways of controlling access to websites and applications that simply steer employees back to their jobs without a feeling of micromanaging or intrusion. 

Banning or restricting access to hate websites or pornographic websites has become part of many workplace contracts. But according to Zippia, under half of the companies in the US have social media policies. 

What you need is an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)… 

An AUP is a document that stipulates how employees are allowed to use their work devices, including constraints and best practices online. Employees should read and sign an AUP before being given a network ID or a new device. 

An AUP is also a way a company can establish legal protection for themselves, as it can outline consequences for noncompliance. 

If you don’t know where to start, Stratti has your back. You can download our Free Acceptable Use Policy Template here!  

And a strong defensive posture… 

The only drawback about AUPs is they are still only as strong as your employee habits. Unless you’re actively blocking specific sites, you’re still at risk, because employees can still enter their information into dangerous sites, or access links that install malware. 

For web filtering and content control, you can’t go wrong with Sophos firewall XGS. With their web filter categorization, HTTPS scanning, and malware scanning functions, you can ensure you’re protecting your employees and your network. Not only can it help keep out the bad guys, but you can proactively restrict access to sites that decrease productivity and increase security risk.

Employees are human (at least for now!), and human habits aren’t going anywhere soon—so it’s up to your company to establish some new guidelines. It doesn’t mean you’ll eradicate a Twitter addiction, but it does mean you’ll have a safer and more productive workforce.