Across the country, many office workers turn on their computer and find Facebook blocked at work. What many workers don't know is that Facebook isn't always blocked just in order to make workers more productive. Often corporate and IT departments have numerous reasons to restrict access to Facebook.
Why Is Facebook Blocked at Work?
Much to the chagrin of many in-touch social networking employees, many companies choose to block Facebook in the office. But why is this the case? A few common reasons to explain the ban include:
- Internet Security. Many IT departments fear the impact that social networking can have on company owned machines. From websites with ads and the like to account attacks that can harm computers, it often isn't worth the risk of hurting a machine for a little Facebook chatting. Games like My Farm also come along with additional IT risks and companies worry about Facebook safety as a result.
- Productivity. If you've ever spent a significant amount of time on Facebook, you're likely aware that the site can be a bit of a time waster. Many human resource departmentsrestrict the site from employees hoping to increase productivity.
- Corporate Image. In this day and age of social media, many companies worry about the way that their employees might present themselves while on the proverbial work clock. Restricting Facebook alleviates some of these concerns.
- Office Privacy. Some companies are much more concerned with the type of content someone might be revealing on a not so private social network. Corporate secrets should remain secrets; numerous companies look to block Facebook in order to help ensure this is the case.
- Branding. Many companies look to create a specific brand identity that having employees out on social media can affect. For this reason, several companies make their employees sign social media agreements for their activities outside of the office.
Is It Fair?
Many employees question whether or not Facebook being blocked at work is fair to them. Many critics of company control of Facebook cite that a company should hire an employee and trust their employees to behave on social networking sites in a professional manner. Others even say that companies don't block employee use of other electronics (like copiers or scanners), so why block Facebook? Additionally, employees have cell phones or other devices in their pocket that they can easily use to get around the block. To these people, the block seems silly. Whether or not the issue is fair is still up for debate by companies and their employees. However, in response to these type of questions, many companies have taken to adopting social media policies -- just like they have other communication policies in place.
How Can You Get Around the Block?
With Facebook blocked at work, many employees seek to find away around the system. A few of the most common ways include:
- Utilizing a proxy based website to get around simple redirect blocks in the office space.
- Emailing a link to Facebook to yourself and then clicking on it. Often, this will get around many blocks.
- Using Facebook on a personal mobile device such as through an iPhone Widget or mobile web browser.
- If Facebook is blocked by the use of a password, you can always try to see if the administrator would allow you access to that password.
Should You Even Bother?
The largest problems with getting around the block at work aren't technology based. Even if your IT department figures out your favorite method and then blocks that, it's more important that employees evaluate why access to Facebook at work is so important to them. Is it worth risking your job to get on Facebook during work hours?
If you feel that not being able to get on Facebook at work is wrong, a frank discussion with the person behind the decision to block the site might help you to better understand the motivations behind the decision on the company's level. Having that level of insight might make it so that you feel more comfortable keeping your Facebook status updates for off-work hours.