Jargon Busting No. 12 – Cyberbluding

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For the non Australians amongst you Dear Readers, to bludge is to slack off, procrasinate, avoid work and generally do a lot of nothing. So to cyberbludge is to use technology to slack off and generally do a lot of nothing. 

As social media becomes more popular some work places are identifying cyberbluding as an issue. Some employers believe that by giving staff access to social media and some websites on their work computers will lead to staff cyberbluding.  And whilst it is true that some people do use the internet access they have at work to slack off, I don’t believe it is a technology issue. But rather it is a performance management issue.

When I first began work I didn’t have a computer on my desk but there were still lots of ways to slack off. These ranged from reading the paper, to flicking through academic journals (I rarely actually read them), watching the cricket (there was a tv in the kitchen), getting coffee, chatting, having pointless meetings and the classic taking a ‘long lunch’.

What people who don’t like technology, particularly social media, seem to forget is that if you allow staff full access to the internet, it is easy to track and monitor their internet usage.  Because everything we do online is trackable and traceable.  I have previously been questioned about my internet usage at work but was able to discuss with my manager what I had been up to.  For the record it is necessary to spend time a lot of time on social media websites when preparing presentations and training about social media. 

So if you have a member of staff that is under performing you can check their internet usage and use that as a basis for a performance management discussion.  Which is much easier than measuring how long someone has spent reading the paper or flicking through journals.  It is the bludging that is the issue not the means of bludging. 

I am often asked what I think about giving staff access to social media at work, for the record I think it is a good idea.

However, you MUST give staff some information and training about what the companies rules and expectations are about using the internet.  You need to tell people what the right thing to do is and what the wrong thing to do is, that way if they break the rules, they can’t say they didn’t know, it is only fair. 

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