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Finding The Balance

Finding The Balance

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When it comes to employee productivity, there are a million different ways you can configure your computer systems to keep them on task. Some companies want the computers open and unrestricted so their employees aren’t restricted in how they do their job. They believe that employees really just want to do their job, and if you allow them the freedom, they will find the best way to get the job done.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article Christopher Mims says

If you’re like me, the first thing you do when you join an organization is figure out how to avoid the Kafka-esque nightmare that is the company’s own IT system. Because let’s face it, in most organizations, what should be the simplest tasks—purchasing, booking travel, even email—are Byzantine compared with how we accomplish them on our own.” –

He says that users should be allowed to try out new services and software for themselves, and if they find it useful, and it meets the companies security policies, it will be adopted by the companies I.T. department. This is a catch 22 for I.T. professionals, because it’s their job above all others to keep the computer systems up and running smoothly, and they can’t know that an end user has the know how to choose software and services wisely.

I have seen systems on other end of the spectrum also. When a company is too lenient with employees many resources can be wasted on entertainment such as games, videos, shows, and movies. I have seen companies bandwidth usage chop in half after blocking sites like facebook, twitter, youtube, etc. Eventually after blocking those sites the employees found other sites to waste time on, and we ended up using a whitelist to give them access to only websites they could go to rather than blocking sites they couldn’t. Their productivity also went way up.

There has to be a good balance between freedom and productivity/security. It is different for every job, and every company. Some of this is dependent on the wages of your employees, their sense of job security, and even their morale. Because ever company is different, I don’t believe there is any cookie cutter answer for this. It’s a balance that needs to be reached mutually between the I.T. department and the rest of the employees or one side will always be unhappy about it.

I help many companies come to reach this balance every day, one step at a time. I consult on, and implement solutions from strictly security  restrictions, all the way to “My employee’s can’t focus unless I take away all distractions”. If this is something you’re interested in, feel free to give me a call!

Written by ethan


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