Office ban on social network sites is detrimental, says reports

Social Networking

The argument that heads of department should manage their staff more effectively and not limit their internet access has been reignited with news that it's not always such a great idea to ban community applications in the workplace.

Both Gartner and business social networking developer Huddle have released reports stressing the demerits of blanket bans on employees as a means to spur productivity.

Gartner's report concludes that organisations should not prevent participation in social applications among their workforces.

Organisations should anticipate web participation "as part of the social experience and formulate a multilevel approach to policies for effective governance", according to Gartner.

Managing vice president at Gartner Anthony Bradley said that creating policies for social application participation would vary among organisations. He also believes that companies should build trust models for all significant and strategic participation in social applications in order to add value to subsequent policy formation.

"Before creating policies for social application participation, organisations need to understand the purposes of participation in a social application and the trust model of the target community.

"The trust model helps organisations to understand the characteristics of a particular community and its likely behaviours, which, in turn, illuminate the behaviour opportunities and risks that influence participation in policy formation."

Meanwhile, Huddle claims to have uncovered the true extent of social network censorship in the UK with its latest report, for which questioned 202 local authority officials on the subject of social collaboration in the public sector'.

The survey found that up to 56 per cent of workers in the public sector are banned from using social networking sites such as Facebook, despite more than a third of those asked wishing to use them at work.

A further 38 per cent of respondents think that the government as a whole should operate a social network across all departments.

"IT departments hear Facebook' and clam up. But there's more to social networking than just consumer sites. Public sector workers already know that efficiencies can be made with using collaborative technologies for work, so it's time that IT heads caught up," said Alastair Mitchell, chief executive of Huddle.