Surfing is part of working life

Jun 11 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

There's nothing quite like youth sticking it to the man when the man has it coming. In a recent British online magazine, I came across this poll revealing that if personal web surfing to be banned in their workplace, 39% of 18-24 year old workers would consider leaving their job. That number drops to 16% in the 25-65 demographic (though that group seems to be quite large!)

Now I can imagine what a number of fourtysomethings are saying upon reading these results, "grow up!" However, the workplace today is a far cry from what my parents knew and will certainly be different when my children start their careers.

As an IT professional in my early thirties, I've never known a job where personal surfing wasn't an unwritten perk of the job. In fact, it only became a problem if colleagues abused the privilege.

If we're going to be honest with the question, a company that outright bans any type of personal web surfing on the job is most likely to be equally inflexible on a wide array of other issues. Most people don't spend their day surfing for personal benefit, nor does the average worker spend the day surfing inappropriate sites.

So as far as I'm concerned, if a company were to ban sites like You Tube or any sort of streaming web content, this would be a completely reasonable decision.

I've got to side with the 18-24 year olds, even if it has been a while since I've been in their group, but if my company were to take such draconian measures and remove a commonly accepted benefit in many industries, I too would go to a company that wasn't so 1991 in its attitudes.