Banning Web Browsing in the Interest of Productivity

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Mark Currie, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Mark Currie

    Indie Author

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    The web browsing experience has changed a lot in the last few years. New sites have contributed to making web browsing a very entertaining experience. I used to think it was ok to take web browsing breaks while working. It certainly wasn't a problem back in say 2003, before social media, twitter, youtube, etc. A couple years ago, I became manager and noticed some of my guys doing a lot of web browsing. I never busted their balls because I wanted them to be comfortable and for the most part, their work was getting done. Then I noticed myself doing a lot of browsing. This issue has slowly creeped up on me and now I think it's a problem.

    What are your thoughts? Do you think it's best for game studios (whether one man or teams) to ban web browsing at work?

    Bankers need a little regulation, maybe game devs also could use some?

    BTW, here is an old topic on the issue, but I wanted to bring it up again since the Internet has gotten a lot more entertaining (distracting) in the last five years.

    http://forums.indiegamer.com/showth...he-internet-really-(To-productivity)&p=109110
     
  2. Richard Nunes

    Richard Nunes New Member

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    My day job is very target-driven. I can spend the whole day surfing the web but then I'm held accountable when I miss my target. Conversely, once I hit my target, I can take it easy and do a little surfing. Jobs with soft targets don't have the same checks and balances. Jobs with soft goals are harder to gauge regarding losses in productivity.

    As mentioned in a previous thread, some developers give themselves half-hour blocks of work without the web, without email, without phone calls. After a block, the developer can check their email, forum posts, IRC rooms, etc. before diving into another half-hour of isolation.

    Maybe take a break from anti-smoking methods. When you have the urge to surf, set a five-minute timer and once the timer is up, you can surf. As time goes on, you set the timer longer and longer. It doesn't have to be ridiculously long, just long enough to fight the urge, get over the craving and maintain focus on work.
     
  3. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    say no to surfing!
     
  4. richtaur

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    Your reports should be meeting their deadlines, other than that their time is theirs. That's how I see it. I just wouldn't be interested in working in any other type of work environment.
     
  5. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think web usage at work should be monitored (quantity of, not site tracking) and wages docked accordingly. That would dissuade most from doing it.
     
  6. HL706

    HL706 New Member

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    Web browsing is fine if targets are being met imo. I regulalry take a 30 minutes here and there to have a look at sports news, facebook or whatever and then get back to the grind. I wouldn't even think of looking at anything if I had a deadline approaching though. I guess it's down to individual responsibility.
     
  7. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    what if you're the one paying the wages to 100 people tossing it off for an hour every day? You're paying for a hundred hours of labour that you aren't actually getting. or to put it another way you're throwing almost three weeks worth of wages down the toilet every single day.
     
  8. Roman Budzowski

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    The problem is that banning browsing is impossible for the kind of work we do. You can set yourself to 60 minutes runs of work without interruption, but complete ban is imho impossible. There is so much work related staff on the net that banning browsing would kill peoples productivity.

    As Desktop says, it's "wasting" wages... the greedy entrepreneur mode turns on ;-) But human brain can stay productive for only periods of time. It's really hard to draw a line between wasting wages and making jobs feel good (like places you want to work in).
     
  9. Bad Sector

    Original Member

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    You're paying for the results not the labour.
     
  10. HL706

    HL706 New Member

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    Well the caveat is; are they meeting deadlines and producing work of a high enough quality?

    If you can comfortably answer that with 'yes' then internet usage wouldn't bother me. If not then I guess you have to discuss that with the individual and try to resolve the issue.
     
  11. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Even if that's the case you're still paying for people to sit around doing nothing. If I employed people and found myself in that situation I'd be looking at reducing staff numbers.
     
  12. Grey Alien

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    I've seen the difference between a company where web browsing was not allowed and one where it was (including watching online TV shows!). Productivity was vastly different. Actually most of the programmers didn't browse much, it was the other employees (who's output was shockingly low in my opinion).
     
  13. CasualInsider

    CasualInsider New Member

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  14. InfiniteStateMachine

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    I use procrastitracker and every now and then check to make sure I wasn't browsing too much.

    One of the main reasons I had to uninstall leage of legends :D

    http://procrastitracker.com/
     
  15. GoldFire

    GoldFire New Member

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    I would use RescueTime, Concentrate, and/or the Pomodoro Technique. I've been using all of these for over a year and I've seen my productivity go through the roof, while still having time to do some browsing every day. I don't think straight up banning the internet is a good idea, just make sure everyone is accountable (RescueTime has a team plan as well that can help with this).
     
  16. Redwolf

    Redwolf New Member

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    I work from home myself, and find that the Internet can be a massive distraction. We all need breaks though, and a quick five minutes of surfing is okay. It may mentally refresh you, and you can get straight back into it. It's not so good when that five minutes turns into two hours of facebooking, and watching youtube clips.
     
  17. GoldFire

    GoldFire New Member

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    That is why the Pomodoro Technique is so great. It starts a timer for 25 minutes where you focus on nothing but work, and then it gives you a 5 minute break before doing another 25 minutes.

    ...and my 5 minutes are about up, so I'm headed back to work :)
     
  18. Gamer23

    Gamer23 New Member

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    Facebook and the like are real time killer machines :p
     
  19. Digital Entanglement

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    So would I, if those people did identical jobs, had identical skills and produced identical quality results.

    As it is, most companies, especially gaming companies have small amounts of staff in skilled positions. Learning the job takes time and money before they can start producing quality work, their skills will vary widely and some are better at certain things than others. Unless you hired someone who doesn't complete their work on time (or early), produces crappy quality work and their work can easily be supplemented by other members of the team, then why would you fire them?

    Results oriented work is what you really want anyway. Unless you're paying a 3rd party outsourced middle man, what is there to worry about? You have someone available, they are producing results. You can't realistically quantify the 1 hour of surfing just like you can't realistically quantify the time you don't spend typing on your keyboard. That's getting into the days of charging for lines of code which people stopped doing for a very good reason. It also seems that you're discounting the experience and knowledge a person acquires about a particular product, and how they can hand that down to future employees.

    My personal opinion is all work should be results oriented, the idea that you're paying for a finished product and the employees are the tools to build it, not wage slaves whose hours must be micromanaged in order to fulfill some unspecified order at an unspecified date.
     
  20. Digital Entanglement

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    As an alternative to the above post, you CAN manage people's time without shutting off the internet. Simply post generic logs of people's time spent on various internet sites (for everyone, don't single people out or you'll have problems). Don't even punish people for lots of surfing, just let the social pressure of their peers be their guide. If someone surfs 7 hours a day, they'll pretty quickly find their habits changing and you won't have to retrain anyone or go through the hiring process again.
     

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