More Australian Workplaces Banning Social Networking

More Australian Workplaces Banning Social Networking

You don’t have to look too far to find an Australian office where Facebook is forbidden, LinkedIn isn’t liked and Twitter can get you terminated. According to Clearswift’s Worklife Web 2011 report, 33 per cent of Australian workplaces now block or discourage the use of social networking. That’s up from 20 per cent last year, and the highest of the five countries covered in the survey.

Not everyone is negative about social networking; 48 per cent of local companies see web collaboration as an essential part of their business strategy. But the narrow-minded “in my workplace, you’ll do what I say” attitude still seems remarkably prevalent, which I suspect just means people do those things on their mobile phones.

The other interesting statistic in the study concerned work-life balance. In the 2010 survey, 48 per cent of Australians said they had issues with work-life overlap; in 2011, that was done to 35 per cent. That’s still 35 per cent more than the ideal figure, but it suggests we have worked out some ways of dealing with the issue.


  • My workplace (insurance industry) used to block Facebook and Twitter, but seem to have relented recently – I think because their latest marketing campaigns want you to “like” their Facebook page, retweet their ads etc. Their policy is to block all non-work related web sites, so you get silly situations, like “” is blocked but “” is not.

    Interestingly, LinkedIn has always been available. Probably because it’s work-related.

    • My workplace also has been pushing an online facebook / twitter presence, it would look funny if you want your staff to get behind your campaigns, like, and join your groups to spread the word and then block the application in the workplace – so where as in the beginning it was blocked it now isn’t. I am assuming the usage is monitored though. A lot of other social media and gaming content is blocked like G+/myspace/some blogs/ any gaming content though.

  • I work for a large IT company, and yes they do have FB blocked, but I have linked in FB into my msn hotmail so I can still see live updates and comment on post. So there is a way around it..

  • I dont think Facebook should be able to be used at work at all, unless its part of your job. Back when i used to go to college a few years ago, every other guy except me (i was able to restrain myself) had his facebook chat open or was tweeting on his phone. Why? Why do people feel the need to be on facebook or twitter *all* the time?

    I mean, i tweet regularly, but i dont tweet at college or while working. It just astounds me that people cannot even stop doing it for a few hours a day while at work, college or school.

    • I don’t think work should encroach on my private life at all, but somehow I keep getting requests that spill in to my private life – see how that works?

      I am very much against treating people like children and banning things. If people are spending so much time on (flavour of the month) websites, their work will suffer and they should be treated accordingly

      Trying to ban things on a case by case basis and treating your employees like children is a losing cause

  • At the risk of being the recipient of a steaming pile of bovine excrement, the reason you’re at work is TO WORK – not spend time tweeting how bored you are to your vacuous friends.

    As mentioned by Rob, if you have the smarts, there’s always a way around it, even if it’s using your personal smartphone.

    Disclaimer: I’ve been both employee and employer, and feel I gave / wanted value for money in my time spent at work.

    • That’s essentially my argument for allowing twitter/facebook. The heavy users will find a way to use it regardless, but the light/medium users can keep it under control.

      If their work starts to suffer, their manager needs to have a talk with them – but that’s a problem with the workers priorities. Blocking facebook would punish those who check their profile over lunch while the heavy users just use their phone instead.

      -Sometimes there are legitimate security concerns for blocking these, and thats fine.
      -I’m posting this from work.

  • Facebook seems to be the only thing that is not blocked at my workplace. ive breached company IT policy many times innocently googling something. interestingly (though its since i think changed) private messages are blocked on facebook (‘personal email’) this is also the case with linkedin, can access everything else – but the private messages are blocked.

  • At my workplace, only four people in the entire national organisation are allowed to use Facebook. Thankfully, I’m one of them.. I find myself a lot more productive when I can take a 5 minute breather and see what’s going on in facebook land

  • My work place tried to be lenient and let people sue Facebook during breaks. But one girl would constantly sneak Facebook checks into her normal work hours. She has been caught a few times so the boss (just yesterday) asked me to block Facebook for everyone.

    But see what happens? Most people do the right thing. But one person went and ruined it for everyone.

  • My work place allows access to facebook between noon and 2pm. I never access it at work unless I’m looking for someones email address, an event details or something.

    Google+ however is able to access whenever – tho I don’t access it other than seeing the notification number on the google topbar

  • My business is a huge one (multinational) that only implemented a workplace filter recently. All social networking was cutoff. Kotaku, LH and Gizmodo were all closed off until I got them opened under the auspices of ‘News’.

    Funnily enough though… EBay is open and has always remained so. I guess someone at the top likes their bargains.

  • Banning all social media is short sighted. Whenever you ban something, people find a way around it. If businesses invested a little time in educating staff about use of social media and ways to support the business through social media, the benefits would far out weight the drawbacks.

    I think an important point is the one about workplaces expecting staff to check work emails and do work beyond work hours. It is all about give and take, developing trust and empowering people to do the right thing. We spend a lot of time training staff in business about social media and there are some great companies/charities taking the lead on this. They benefit hugely!

    Read a great quote today that jumps to mind: “A sense of personal responsibility only develops in an environment where choice is a genuine option.” Simon Longstaff (St James Ethics Centre)

  • It pains me to see companies taking such a myopic view of social media. How can managers not see the hypocrisy which they engage in? On the one hand they encourage the public to interact with them on social platforms (Facebook likes through to interaction on Twitter) yet, they then want to lock down access for their own staff.
    Aside from the fact it is hypocritical, what about hte benefits of collaboration which social media offers?
    This blog I think should be read by more managers.

  • Our workplace doesn’t block any sites, however we are told not to browse facebook, twitter, youtube ect. even in our personal time. Anything else is fair go in our personal time however. I am not quite sure why we aren’t allowed to even in our personal time but we all just check it on our phones anyway.

    The only reason they weren’t blocked was because we would often need to implement facebook, or twitter or any other of those sites into a clients website.

  • I can’t stand all the garbage about using social media for business promotion. It’s just BS promoted by Gen Y so they can fb their friends all day at work.
    Happy to have it banned at my work.
    LinkedIn is allowed, as it should be.

  • A couple of years ago back when im just starting to work for the first time as an admin, i find browsing facebook once in a while kills the boredom, but as i have moved on with my carrer, heck, i dont even have enough time to browse google news now

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!