As if there weren't enough issues to bog down the economy, an article in the upcoming issue of Newsweek magazine reports that 25 percent of workers access internet porn sites while at work.
While I [truthfully] never accessed porn at work, I have seen co-workers spend much of their days on eBay, various entertainment venues, Yahoo!'s "The 9", and other non-work related fare, so it's easy enough for me to believe that supposedly working people might be looking at dirty pictures during part of their workdays. And while porn is not my vice, I've occasionally kept up with the news (MSN or the online version of the local paper), almost always mindful to keep such usage brief.
There's more than a month of Sunday sermons that could be made about porn. I could lament how it's almost gained mainstream acceptance since I was a teenager - witness the recent movie entitled 'Micki and Maude Make a Porno' (I know this isn't the correct title, but it's close), and the incessant revelations that this or that celebrity has a 'sex video' from their past showing up on the internet. I don't know how I've made it close to half a century without taking pictures of my privates or anyone else's. With this age of self-expression and self-publishing (e.g. blogging) comes a responsibility, apparently not well understood, of self-editing.
So what to do about employees stealing employers' time getting their jollies? Several years ago I worked for a software company that had hit a rough patch by allowing its core product, a proprietary multi-user DOS program, to carry the company, while little R&D was being pursued to adapt the application into the emerging GUI environment. The speed and efficacy of the character-based app were unquestioned, but new sales became hard to come by as [business] buyers demanded Windows based platforms (because it was easier to train new unskilled workers). Ultimately the company sold to a dot-com white knight that injected development capital to speed the transition, then got caught in the tech bubble burst. After a few years in the doldrums, the company is healthy again, and capturing a strong segment in its applicable markets.
Anyway, reading the Newsweek article made me think that perhaps it would be best if managements reconsidered how technology is deployed in the workplace. I don't think anyone ever got caught looking at Babes-r-Us or even eBay on an amber screen Link or Wyse terminal.
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