Office productivity and website blocking?
July 13, 2006 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Are there any studies which show a correlation between office productivity and website monitoring/blocking that have not been funded or produced by a website monitoring/blocking company?
posted by Jairus to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Here is one I found sometime last year (was working on implementing SurfControl or the like)

Not sure if you can count this as a study so much as a survey


America Online and conducted in-depth research relating to time wasted at work among 10,044 respondents during May and June, 2005. Populations surveyed included AOL users, Salary Wizard users and corporate human resource professionals. Respondents were asked to indicate how much time they wasted in an average workday, assuming a workweek consisting of five 8-hour days. Demographic information, including respondent geography, job category and gender was also collected in the study. Data was analyzed by's team of Certified Compensation Professionals.

posted by poppo at 7:42 AM on July 13, 2006

btw, this survey is not strictly about a correlation between productivity and web monitoring/blocking, but about the amount of time wasted on the web and it's costs. you can then infer on your own the amount of productivity gained by implementing some sort of monitoring and blocking.
posted by poppo at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2006

Any chance any of these surveys take in to account the amount of time circumventing said measures? I have buddies in worker bee jobs that are always asking me for things to try. Circumventing these things is not something that just technically savvy people are able to pull off or research.

On the chance that you're asking because you're looking for a solution( rather than throwing numbers at someone to discredit them ). Here's 2 things to look for:

* Protocol profiling: Make sure that the traffic going out port 80/443 is indeed HTTP / HTTPS. This weeds out things like tunneling proxy protocols through these port numbers. IE: Stop a user from running SSH connections to their home box which runs a proxy.

* Automated updated list of known anonymous web proxies

* Reverse DNS filtering. When an IP address comes through the filtering tool, ensure that it looks up the corresponding web address. Don't just block on the address name where a user could just connect to the IP address.

These measure will frustrate even the most technically adept user and should be able to be found in most commercial products. Homebrew open source solutions are doable.
posted by mnology at 10:04 AM on July 13, 2006

Also, remember that even if you block all external websites, people will decide to do one of two things:
1) Try to find a way around the block (which someone will eventually do).
2) Find other ways to goof off.

Final answer: people can't/won't work for 8 hours straight. Except some slacking off and deal with it.
posted by triolus at 11:17 AM on July 13, 2006

Response by poster: To clarify: I don't want technical measures to prevent internet access. I'm interested only in research on the topic.
posted by Jairus at 11:18 AM on July 13, 2006

mnology: So when I tunnel my SSH connection through HTTP(S), what then?

You won't stop anyone serious unless you a) aggressively go after each possible infringement you see (ie, the pattern isn't terribly hard to pick up), or b) you use a whitelist instead of a blacklist.

Whitelists are really the only truly effective way of ensuring employees visit only good sites (wtf is a good site, anyway? - Might as well just block internet access and put all the content you want on the LAN).
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:29 PM on July 13, 2006

Response by poster: devilsbrigade, thanks for reading the post.
posted by Jairus at 1:17 PM on July 13, 2006

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