Wednesday, March 25, 2015
What Work Looks Like
Rote work conditions produce rote work. If you want progress, you need to give people the time and space to develop ways to do things better. And for heaven’s sake, let people communicate with their colleagues around the country, even if you don’t understand the platform with which they’re doing it.
A memo came down from management that said that we were not to use the company’s computers to browse to any non work-related Internet website for any reason whatsoever. We took this to mean not only that should we never do obviously inappropriate things such as surfing to porno websites, but we should also never go to the Internet to get a stock quote, to get the latest news, or even to take a look at the latest Dilbert cartoon. I suppose that the reason for this draconian restriction was twofold—one, to keep our noses to the grindstone, as well as to prevent bandwidth congestion from internet overuse.
We found this very chilling, since we never knew what our bosses might consider as being “non-work-related”. We were told that people who violated this directive could be fired. We regarded this directive as extremely draconian, but, hey, it’s the company’s computers. and they can be just as strict as they want to be regarding their use.
Fortunately, this overly draconian policy was later relaxed somewhat, and we were allowed to go and surf the Net so long as it did not interfere with getting our work done. It seems that the reason for the change in policy was that Large Telecommunications Company had recently gone on an acquisition binge and had bought another company, one which could not tolerate such a draconian internet usage policy.