Published July 27, 2012
With the Olympic Games kicking off in London, there’s major excitement building across the country. But while your employees get hyped over the big games, experts say business owners should have an eye on workplace productivity.
Phil Bousfield, general manager of GFI’s Infrastructure Business Unit, said the Olympic Games are a key time to remind your workers of your policies for internet usage. Having a written policy for Web browsing limitations is something every business should have as a part of its company handbook, Bousfield said, and this should be redistributed and discussed leading up to the event.
“It can be informal, but you can and should remind your workers about your guidelines,” he said. “As companies get bigger, it’s important to document internet policy.”
Curiosity about the event will last for the rest of the summer, he said, so talk to your employees about when and how they are surfing the Web. While you can’t actually limit what they are talking about, reminding workers to limit their conversation to lunch time and breaks is also an option.
“The vast majority of employees probably spend an appropriate amount of time checking sports,” he said. “But it’s an issue when people are visibly abusing the system. Your other workers may feel, ‘why should I try hard if they aren’t doing their work?’ This is a drain on morale.”
With so much interest buzz circulating around the games, viruses are a major threat to look out for, Bousfield said. Updating all software antivirus patches on computers, laptops and company phones is important to do before any major events like elections or sports games.
To drive the point home, Bousfield said to remind your workers what is at stake.
“Give them a case study or example of what kind of things can happen if you were to get a virus,” he said. “Explain the consequences to them- most people have high integrity.”
According to GFI, Olympic-related spam and viruses have been circulating for the past two years. The Olympics Committee also warns of emails and letters informing recipients they have won an “Olympic Lottery,” along with letters informing recipients that they can apply for a job being involved with the games for a fee.
“Web security [breaches] are a big drain—they can knock computers down and release trade secrets,” he said.
A final option is to install software that monitors internet usage, blocks sites that may cause threats to your business and workplace productivity. In the past, smaller companies may have felt this would only be a possibility for big companies with matching budgets, however software is more affordable and easy to install today, Bousfield said.
“It doesn’t make your workers feel like you are being ‘Big Brother’ or restricting them,” he said. “This is something to put in place to reflect your Web policy.”