This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

How Much to Watch Your Workers Web Surf

CHICAGO ( MainStreet) -- Cyber Monday started the week off with a bang. IBM's (IBM - Get Report) annual Cyber Monday Benchmark, which tracks transactions from 500 retailers, found sales were up 33% this year compared with 2010. The peak shopping time was 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific), which suggests that an awful lot of Americans did their holiday ordering from the office.

Is that a problem? For many small-business owners, how and when their employees use the Internet is an eternal, nagging concern. Now that social media plays an ever-more-important part in marketing, it's unrealistic to cut off all access to Facebook and Twitter, especially if your company uses them to reach out to customers. But does making those sites available give workers tacit permission to update their personal accounts all day? Is productivity suffering?
For many small-business owners, how and when their employees use the Internet is an eternal, nagging concern.

Every company, from Fortune 500 behemoths to the mom and pop corner deli, struggles with these issues. A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 43% of organizations blocked employees' access to social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices. That means more than half of companies allow their employees to access sites such as Facebook while at work; of those companies, only about one-third track what their employees are doing.

So what are your options if you're concerned how workers spend time online? The first thing to consider is the difference between online security and online monitoring. Every office computer system should be set up with certain security controls to keep out viruses and prevent employees from making illegal downloads. Such security monitoring has gotten even more important with the rise of social media, since links shared through Facebook and Twitter can be used to pass along malware that threatens an entire office network.

Most network security systems flag offensive or illegal content; rather than continually tracking everyone's online activity, the boss gets a heads-up only if a person tries to access a blocked site or sends a raunchy email. While it might seem obvious that certain sites are a no-no at the office, it's important to clearly spell out which lines shouldn't be crossed and the penalties for doing so. If you want to fire someone for gambling online from their office laptop, you'd better be able to show that the employee was warned of the consequences of that behavior.
1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
IBM $152.39 0.07%
AAPL $112.03 2.30%
FB $93.25 0.84%
GOOG $643.48 0.68%
TSLA $220.67 -2.70%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,084.49 +33.74 0.20%
S&P 500 2,013.43 +15.91 0.80%
NASDAQ 4,830.47 +19.6820 0.41%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs