Gini Dietrich

Treat People Like Adults and You’ll Have High Productivity

By: Gini Dietrich | March 28, 2013 | 

Treat People Like Adults and You'll Have High ProductivityMy dad forwarded me an email yesterday. It was from one of his colleagues who talked about the fact that external websites – including sites they need to access to do their jobs – had been shut down in an effort to “control non-work related web visits.”

If a site is pertinent to one’s job, they have to request an order with the IT department to have it unblocked. Each is considered on a case-by-case basis.

My dad is a 60-year-old man. He’s a grown-up. He has two degrees. He has 40 years of experience. He works with other grown-ups. They do serious work in the healthcare field that is changing modern medicine as we know it.

Sure, there might be some people in the organization who take advantage and spend all day on Facebook (though, if they’re like my team, it might be open all day, but they’re not actually on it), but to punish everyone?

I often run into this same situation when I spend time on the road speaking with business leaders. They think, if no one can access anything online, productivity will increase.

When someone tells me that, especially if I’m in their offices, I’ll pull out my phone and get on a “forbidden” site with them watching, just to prove employees will find a way around their stupid rule.

And it is a stupid rule. It makes me glad my boss doesn’t care where we spend time online as long as we get our work done.

Facebook During the Day

But I am reminded of a time, about five years ago, that I was walking to the ladies room in our office. The energy center – or the group of cubicles where all the interns sat – was on the way so I said hello to them all as I walked by.

As I walked back to my office, I noticed one of the interns was on Facebook – just blatantly out there in the open – at 10:00 in the morning.

I was furious!

How dare she play on Facebook in the middle of the day?

But our managing director said something really important to me. She said, “Gini, she is one of our very best interns. She easily does the job of two people. Are you really going to get mad at her for checking Facebook for 10 minutes during the day?”

Of course she was right and I never said anything to that intern. In fact, it totally changed the way I think.

Treat People Like Adults

If people are spending too much time on non-work related sites, you have a human resources issue. But if productivity is high and people are getting their work done, who the heck cares where they spend time online?

So they check the balance on their checking account or take a brain break on the social networks or grab a quick gift for their nephew while they’re thinking about it. So what?

If people are going to game the system, they’re going to do it no matter what you do to their work computers, just like I demonstrate with my phone in someone’s office.

But most people? Most just want to come to work, do their very best work, have the support and resources they need to do a good job, and go home feeling like they accomplished something.

As it turns out, when treated like adults, most will act that way. But, treat them like children and lo and behold! They act like children.

Would you rather have an office full of adults or one full of children?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • belllindsay

    It’s such a grey area in our industry – when I’m on Facebook, I’m actually working – it may not look like it to the layman, but whether I’m commenting on people’s pages, or sharing something cute, I’m networking and doing outreach. I’m one who has her social accounts open all day – though I’m not “on” them, per se. But just this morning, I got an important FB message from a potential content contributor, and I was able to respond with ideas immediately because it happened to be open and my brain was fresh (it *was* 6:00 am!). That said, and the insulting ‘you’re a child!’ feelings aside, in this day and age…?? When everything happens online…?? To cage your staff and freak out if they are – as you mentioned – checking a bank balance or ordering a gift online – is patently ridiculous. Gee, I remember when we did all those same things – we just picked spent 20 minutes on the phone or took an extra long lunch break to shop! Bosses need to realize that if anything, they’re probably increasing productivity and saving time when people “run errands” online!

    • @belllindsay Exactly! It really makes me angry when leaders do this. I would quit my job if I worked for someone like that.

    • rdopping

      @belllindsay Ha! You’re working? You must be THAT good ’cause it all looks like fun to me. Lucky you. 😉

      • belllindsay

        @rdopping All part of my stealth skills Ralph!! 😀

      • @rdopping Don’t worry, Ralph. She’s already been written up once for “working” on Facebook. @belllindsay

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich  @rdopping THAT’S NOT TRUE!!!

  • Jmodio

    As I’ve never worked at a job outside the digital/social realm, I’ve never known a job where I didn’t have access to the entire web. Of course there will always be fields I can think of where it wouldn’t be appropriate, say the medical field.

    • @Jmodio My dad is in the medical field and EVERY external site has been blocked. They can’t use Google to do research, they can’t visit the sites where they post papers, nothing. That’s just plain old wrong.

      • Jmodio

        @ginidietrich  I can certain things being blocked, but EVERY external site seems like a bit much. I’m sure most people in the field these days would carry around a tablet so can they easily do research and take notes.

  • IMHO, outlawing sites is ineffective. Doesn’t work in a world where more people have smartphones with access to the web. Hasn’t been effective in schools and isn’t working well in most organizations because it drives people underground. They will find ways to access the web. Web access. It’s like air these days. Essential and considered a right not a privilege. Educating your employees about how to use the web effectively, what is considered appropriate and even helpful, benefits your business far more than trying to lock things down.

    • @allenmireles Not to mention you really can’t control things like that. Sure, you may think you have control because IT is giving you a report that shows no one is doing anything online, but they’re really accessing it from their phones while they’re in the bathroom.

      • @ginidietrich  @allenmireles Although, the corporate IP address isn’t showing up in the web stats of the sites they’re visiting. Maybe that’s why some companies are happy to jump on the BYOD bandwagon.

    • @allenmireles I am SO HAPPY you brought this up, because this very loophole always makes me laugh.
      @ginidietrich I also know that there are companies that have spent a LOT of time and effort installing monitoring software. Why? If there is a legit reason, fine. If it’s to document time spent on “unproductive” sites, what a waste. If people are doing their jobs and doing them well, what’s the point? If they’re not, hold them accountable through HR.

      • @mickeygomez  @allenmireles  I’m totally with you, Mickey. I know exactly how productive my team is. I don’t have to monitor their online activity. I don’t read their emails. I TRUST them and, in return, they perform well.

  • belllindsay

    On another note: when I worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – doing journalism and making *daily* TV shows – we had to submit a form to upper management if we were doing online research on certain “controversial” topics. Like, say, sex abuse or breast cancer. Because, you know, those are dirty words. We were behind a firewall, and certain terms were blocked. Try doing breaking news or researching for an interview when you had to wait two days to get approval to access the online stories you need. Unbelievable. I’m sure it’s not the same now (dear god I hope not), but wow.

    • @belllindsay That would seriously drive me to drink.

      • @ginidietrich  @belllindsay Like you need a reason.

        • @jasonkonopinski  @belllindsay Good point.

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich I blame my drinking on the CBC. 😉

  • Just had this discussion with a guy this week where the culture is very anti anything online. He told me that one of the biggest morale busters they had was when the company blocked Pandora. It was done more from an IT perspective of clogging up the arteries of the computer network, but if that causes morale problems, get more servers! But beyond that, they don’t allow their folks online and on social networks. I told him the same thing you’re saying here: if people are goofing off online, and you take that away, they’ll find other ways to waste time. 
    Set expectations, have a policy in place, and make sure t hey are getting their jobs done. Which should be a part of the system already.
    I tell that that if they don’t trust their employees, that’s not an employee issue, that’s a hiring issue.

    • @KenMueller “I tell them if they don’t trust their employees, that’s not an employee issue, that’s a hiring issue.” A-freaking-men!

      • @ginidietrich One other thing. Maybe he should go back and say, “i’m sorry, my sales aren’t as good as they could be, but our potential clients have all blocked our website”

        • @KenMueller LOL!!!

        • @ginidietrich Seriously. In another life I used to speak to parent and teacher groups in schools and churches about kids and social media. They would invite me to come in and speak and “demystify” the world of Xanga and MySpace, because they were afraid of it. Now, this was at a time when social was really only used by kids, and also pre-smart phone, but it was really odd. I’d go into the school or church, set up my laptop, connect it to the projector, connect it to the Internet (usually had to use a Cat5 since no one had wireless) and find out that all the sites I wanted to talk about were blocked. Doh!
          Even when I had specifically told them I needed to get beyond their firewall or there would be no point in me going there.

        • @KenMueller That’s always my favorite: When I’m with a prospect or client and they want me to show them how to do something, but they’ve blocked the sites. I always say the best way to get those rules loosened up is to buy the boss an iPad with the WiFi feature only.

  • JenKaneCo

    I totally was going to send this to a client of mine, but then remembered that the lock down is so severe in her company that she won’t be able to access this site to read it. Guess I’ll just copy and paste the text into an email. As you mentioned (and I like to demonstrate too) when it comes to information, when there’s a will, there’s a way. 🙂
    I’d love to see a research study on how often Facebook gets accessed via a user’s phone in a corporate restroom.

    • @JenKaneCo Right?! That’d be hilarious to see. And how many times people are going to the restroom during the day. I don’t get it.

  • It’s really all very simple. 
    If people want to screw off and not do work, they’ll do so with and without online access.

    • @jasonkonopinski HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

    • PattiRoseKnight

      @jasonkonopinski Happy birthday!!!

  • PattiRoseKnight

    There are always going to be the abusers in any business office – always.  In our business I get an email if someone comments or likes a blog I commented on or a Facebook status I liked or commend on even if I’m not on the blog or Facebook.  We’ve all experienced those who are on Facebook all day long and what I’ve learned is that when it comes down to business and the hard situation to downsize during a tough economy those are the ones who are let go; for obvious reasons.  Fairness doesn’t always come instantaneous but it comes eventually to those who “play” all day long instead of doing productive work.
    Another great post Gini…

    • @PattiRoseKnight The way I look at it is like this: If one person is abusing it, I already know who it is and it becomes an HR issue. But why would I punish everyone because of that one person?

      • PattiRoseKnight

        @ginidietrich I know the person you referred to in this blog and that person was kept when we downsized – why because that person was the most productive of the interns.  Abuse of the social networks – to me – is obvious.

  • joecardillo

    Amen to that RT pattiknight Treat People Like Adults and You’ll Have High Productivity … vSpinSuckscks

  • rdopping

    Interesting post. I feel for your dad.
    Our company has a security platform called “web-sense” which has absolutely no sense. We started out with 100% lock-down on keywords like social and the obvious ones like sex. We then had to work with IT to release certain sites to allow for research. So many people complained they opened it up. Same reasons. Treat adults like adults. Now we are “protected” by filtering for “known” unsafe websites, etc. It’s better now. I would hope so since there is a push to build on social.
    Now I can spend as much time on Facebook as I want. Yay. I am pretty close to my team and most use the social sites during the day but we are a very productive team. It doesn’t seem to have affected our productivity. Considering we are more profitable this year than last proves social media access has nothing to do with it.

    • @rdopping That makes no sense. LOL!! 
      People really do want to come to work and do their very best job. Sure, we all have days we’d rather be on Facebook or YouTube all day, but we rarely give into that temptation. Why is it so hard to trust your team?

      • rdopping

        @ginidietrich I wouldn’t know. I implicitly trust my guys. Until someone effs up, that is. Then its “hamma time.”

    • @rdopping I know Websense!!! It’s horrendous.

  • I have no issues with the use of the internet in the workplace, save the one topic of pornography. Respecting the workforce as adults is endearing to productivity.
    It is often that these individuals, with no relation to the communications or marketing departments, that offer information on world events, stakeholders, or simply social media happenings in real time that make the difference in averting a crisis. I am thankful to have the extra eyes and ears of the workforce working with me. It is an assurance I value with high regard.

    • @annelizhannan Do you happen to watch Shameless on Showtime? It’s a really over-the-top show and sometimes Mr. D and I watch an episode and then look and one another and wonder what the heck happened. But there was an episode a couple of weeks ago where Fiona is in a temp job and she pulls up a site that shows men’s body parts. It’s in the quest of helping a friend, but to someone walking by, it looks like porn. The boss said, “Look, I don’t care if you use the web while you’re at work. Let’s just stay away from sites that show body parts.” 
      That is how people should be treated. Set expectations – and boundaries – and let’s get our work done.

      • @ginidietrich I don’t watch that show but agree that is an adult way of handling the issue. Point given with respect, no judgement passed and passive warning given.

  • A good boss who’s paying attention to the quality of work will see when someone isn’t paying proper attention anyway….plus, and this drives me nuts, humans aren’t built to work 8+ hours straight. At least not if you want them to think creatively.

    • @JoeCardillo My father-in-law and I just had this very conversation. He’s amazed at how well I can block everything out and focus for two or three hours at a time. But that’s it. Then I need a break. Because, you’re right, we’re not meant to work solid like that.

      • @ginidietrich It’s crazy how much the science supports the 80/20 principle and has for a long while, and yet companies have this misguided notion about time. When I run into that I think to myself, wow if they’re off base on this then what else are they messing up.
        And we all know that the good ones come in early/work through lunch/leave late when a project needs to be taken care of.

        • @JoeCardillo  @ginidietrich Oh, yes. I call it the “corporate” mentality. Perhaps an unfair moniker, but I’ve yet to come up with a better term. The mentality drives me bonkers. Let people do their work, then let them go play. Don’t make them stay in the office all day unless they actually need to be in the office all day.

        • @Erin F.  @ginidietrich You can tell the corporate mentality by the blank look and “well, that’s just how we do/have done it” when you ask why something is done a particular way.

    • PattiRoseKnight

      @JoeCardillo you are right Joe….we all need a break during the day; I keep Facebook open all day on my iPad and when i need a break I’ll get up and go in the other room and check Facebook for a few minutes throughout the day – the key word is “a few minutes” not all day long.

      • @PattiRoseKnight I mostly work at home so I’ve taught myself discipline when it comes to social media, I scan news and tweet about once an hour….and frankly it’s good to have the break but I wouldn’t want to be captive to Facebook anyway. Instead of castigating employees companies should model / teach what’s appropriate.

  • Heather Jane Kreider

    It is tough though when a lot of the Generation Y group feels the need to check their phone every 2 seconds, goes off and hides just to check their messages and thinks this is all ok at work. I see it all the time and it is very frustrating.

  • Inkling Media

    Agreed, but it comes down to setting expectations, and making sure they do their job. It’s always been that way, with or without the technology. Let them check. But also let them know their performance is being evaluated and they have a job to do..

  • Heather Jane Kreider

    True. Expectations are set but it is frustrating when people still ignor them.

  • Lonniecmtmf
  • Inkling Media

    And that’s when you have a sit down and discuss. It’s why having a social media policy in place is so important for businesses.

  • Marketing Chick

    My company blocks such sites as “facebook” ,”Pinterest” etc.    The reason why they do is because we are a security company and have recognized that viruses and malware typically come from these sites.   You have to consider that sometimes company don’t do it always for the reasons you list above.  There is a true security threat on these sites and MOST people are completely clueless that the link they clicked was actually a malicious trojan horse… not the cute puppy they thought it was.     You’re right about companies needing to treat adults like adults but sometimes companies do this to protect their network infrastructures and safeguard themselves .    The internet is a scary place and most people are not knowledgable that they put themselves and their company at risk when they are on these sites.  
    – Just my 2 cents.

    • @Marketing Chick I guess I understand that, but there are also things you can do to avoid viruses and malware (get Macs, for instance) without taking away the privilege people earn by having a job well done. In my dad’s case, they can’t even go to Google. How do you do research these days without the Internet?

      • Marketing Chick

        ginidietrich Marketing Chick eh have to disagree… nothing is safe.

    • @Marketing Chick I think this is a training issue. Incorporate training on Internet use and how to spot malicious content/sites to avoid and you won’t have to block staff from sites that can help them do their job more effectively (or have a little downtime). Back in my days of working for the government in Florida, they blocked all kinds of sites, never did any training and when email viruses came into vogue, it crippled our servers. It could have been prevented.
      I have worked in places that blocked sites for “security reasons” and as someone who wasn’t on a Mac and has been trained (or mostly just educated myself). I have never, not once, gotten a virus on a work machine and I am a heavy internet user who is incredibly frustrated by blocked sites – I also download and install software from the internet.
      One organization I work with says they block sites for security, but because of the number of genuine trusted sites that are blocked, I know for a fact that this is about not letting staff “waste time” on the internet.

      • Marketing Chick

        Karen_C_Wilson Marketing Chick Karen – it’s not a training issue.  I work with some of the most sophisticated hackers out there ( thank god they are on the good side) … most people are unaware that they even the most trusted sites can be hacked and unknowingly put themselves at risk.  Put it this way… if someone wants to get into a business network they can and they will.   Security is on going fight and battle.  The moment a new product comes out you can bet someone has already gone to work to hack and expose the holes.   Kids as young as 13 are taking down sites and creating big headaches for companies .. you see it everyday.   It’s really scary.

  • Ah, you really know how to get me started….at one of my old jobs, I was continually chided for “playing” on Twitter and commenting on blogs and earning my white robe on Google+. The truth was, I was teaching myself how social media worked from the ground up.
    For someone with only retail experience and no college education, I think I learned it all fairly well. The bosses wanted immediate results and I told them that when they stopped liking porn stars on Facebook, then we might be able to get somewhere.
    Lets not mince words here – there will always be some employees who take advantage of the system. There will be others who won’t. I have had a few jobs where I was treated so poorly that yes I played online any chance I got and so did my co-workers. What does that tell you?
    The only remedy is this – talk to your staff. Talk TO your staff, not AT your staff. Is there a reason they are going online? Do they have something going on that they are embarrassed to talk about? Again, this goes back to treating people like adults and not like children. I guess this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

    • @NancyD68 Earning your white robe on G+. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

      • @ginidietrich Hey, I was told I would have guru status for sure after spending those two hours I will never get back

  • I loathe micro-managers. If I have to micromanage my team, I have the wrong team.  The Rooster’s company has an “unlimited vacation” policy.. he could take 6 months off in a year if he wanted to – but he had best get 12 months of work done in the other 6. Of course, no one does it but the point is – we trust you to get your job done. If you want to take the day/week/month off, fine by us as long as your work is done. (They’re also a virtual company)

    • @KristenDaukas We have that same policy. We implemented it this year. So far, no one has taken any time off. I may have to start demanding it!

      • Keena Lykins

        @ginidietrich  @KristenDaukas Now that’s interesting, Gini. Do they work while traveling, i.e. they go to Florida and lay on the beach but still check in and handle hot items before heading out for the night?

    • @KristenDaukas Amen. Micromanagement kills creativity and tunes out even the best of employees.

  • SpinSucks

    missvanbree Agreed, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    missvanbree SpinSucks Thanks Elke!

  • The concept of treating people their age shouldn’t be a hard one to grasp. Jiminy.

    • belllindsay

      @chelpixie Jiminy. Best word ever. 🙂

      • @belllindsay I tend to use it when I’m exasperated and don’t want to use the f word. 😉

    • @chelpixie Crickets? ;)And, you wouldn’t think so, but I’ve worked in places where that hasn’t been the case. It’s frustrating, especially if you’re the sort of person who thrives on self-direction. Tell that person what needs to be done, and she or he will get it done. That person might even find related items to the thing that need to be done if given the freedom to do so.

      • @Erin F.  @chelpixie CRIKEY.  
        Also? Jeez-oh-Pete.

      • Yeah. What gets me is after a length of time as an employee at a company, you would think that trust would be earned. What kind of message does it send when you pull this crap?  
        That your employees will never be trusted and never be partners in what your company goals are? Why bother doing your work THEN?

    • @chelpixie Right? I was flabbergasted when my dad sent me that email. I mean, these people are doing the research required to move modern medicine forward and they can’t use Google? I don’t get it.

      • @ginidietrich I’d be interested to know what the employees do in response.  I wouldn’t feel trusted or comfortable in a place that didn’t trust me to accomplish the goals they set forth for me.  
        I’d prefer someone to address the problem with people who aren’t getting their work done as a result of spending time where they shouldn’t.  Not penalizing everyone as a result of a few people who aren’t doing their work.
        There’s a deeper issue if this is the only solution they can come up with.

  • That companies equate working 8–9 hours with productivity goes back to the assembly lines in the early years of the auto industry or so I’ve read. This is what I appreciate about freelance work (and flexible work environments), I’m paid for what I produce and the quality of it, not the time I “do”. Granted, I also have to produce at my 8-9, but I can’t produce creatively or with the highest quality if I’m assembling words like they’re nuts and bolts.

    • @Word Ninja I do my very best work from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. After 3:00, if you want anything creative out of me, it’s just not going to happen. I do all my financial reporting and stuff that is laborious, but doesn’t require putting words together after 3 p.m. If I worked for someone, this would not work out so well for me.

  • SSICompany

    ginidietrich great article! I completely agree, no need to micro-manage an employee’s every second

    • ginidietrich

      SSICompany I would be very unhappy if I were micromanaged

  • At my previous company I was a manager and I always laughed when someone quickly closed out a You Tube/Twitter/Facebook/etc. page because I really could give a crap what you’re looking at as long as you’re getting your work done. And most of these people weren’t even under me (in fact about 98% of them weren’t). And like you said, if they don’t do it on their computer, they’ll use their phone or other devices they have to go to those sites anyways.

    • HowieG

      @yvettepistorio LOL Just yesterday I got this email from @ginidietrich 
      ‘How come everytime I call @yvettepistorio I hear the same thing in the background…the Giants winning the superbowl breaking Tom Brady’s 18 game win streak. Does she not know I am a football fan?’

      • @HowieG  @yvettepistorio Howie, if you’re going to tell Yvette what I email you about, at least make it believable.

        • HowieG

          @ginidietrich  @yvettepistorio ok. To be honest Yvette we talk Facebook, Ryan Holiday, Business Models and Methods, and yesterday’s topic she can tell you off of spinsucks.

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich That sounds more like it. And there was probably some discussion on how I have the cutest puppy in the world since everyone talks about my dog 😉

    • @yvettepistorio I used to think it was hilarious when someone would close their browser when I walked by – like I hadn’t already seen what was on their screen.

      • @ginidietrich Exactly!! I did have one colleague who would just laugh b/c every time I walked by, she was on Facebook or Pinterest. She used to say “I swear I do more than play online” and I knew she did b/c she was one of the most productive people on my team.

  • Great post! Yes this notion that you have the right or need to “punish” adults is really quite off.

    • @RebeccaTodd Yeah, no kidding; I get plenty of that at home….:)

      • HowieG

        @bdorman264  @RebeccaTodd that is it. Giving both of you a time out!

        • @HowieG  @bdorman264 I actually got sent home from the office yesterday. Kinda hard to punish me by sending me home to wine n vinyl, but I won’t let them know that.

        • HowieG

          @RebeccaTodd  @bdorman264 just looking at your photo Rebecca I see ‘Troublemaker’ all over your face. What did you do? Threaten someone at the coffee station for using the last creamer and not getting a new one?

        • @HowieG  @bdorman264 I don’t know really.  I was presenting a new customer solution, suddenly my morality was called in to question and I had to define capitalism?

        • @RebeccaTodd  @HowieG Timeout, huh?

        • @HowieG  @RebeccaTodd No, it was taking the last cup of coffee and not making a new one AND leaving the burner on.

    • @RebeccaTodd Phew. Am I back in your good graces now?

      • @ginidietrich G, don’t be ridiculous. YOU are always in my good graces. I completely separate the person from the action. Just because I disagree with you, doesn’t mean I don’t like you. Quite the opposite- If I do not think someone is smart and thoughtful and has something to teach me, I don’t bother debating them. I argue because I LOVE!

        • HowieG

          @RebeccaTodd  @ginidietrich do you work for the RNC Rebecca because Morality and Capitalism normally only cross paths with them.

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich Hah! Good to know my own internal team finds my profession deplorable. Yay!

        • @RebeccaTodd Love you!

        • @ginidietrich I love you! I am bringing a team mate to Chicougar to find out what the H is up with my OH numbers (heh!) so I will shoot you some dates!

  • I think these bosses just need to be patient; this social media fad will be over before you know it. 
    10 years ago my answer might have been different because change did not come easy to a very conservative, deep south insurance agency. Our previous president would have probably had it locked down tight as a drum. 
    We are ‘all in’ however these days and even have a social media committee. We embrace social and certainly can’t do that if we have lock down on certain sites. However, ‘big brother’ does have the ability to see where you’ve been and if your productivity is lagging and it’s determined you have too much FB time going on, then you will be talked to. 
    We also have a social media/internet use policy but it’s really more of a common sense thing. 
    Personally, I would like an office full of adults who act like children because that’s how I roll, but reality is somebody better be wearing the big boy pants so I leave that up to my team. 
    BTW, I know big brother is watching because I’ve been asked to make sure my blog posts stay somewhat appropriate since I am so identifiable with Lanier Upshaw. Sheesh, between my wife and big brother, I can hardly have any fun at all with my blog. Go figure, huh? 
    Hire the right people, develop the right culture and it will pay big dividends.

    • HowieG

      @bdorman264 you are right. In 1998 all the kids were lacing bids on EBay and spending their time emailing friends.
      And I think @ginidietrich would agree a simple set of rules can ensure proper behavior. Specifically get your job done, be ethical, and no surfing of porn sites. Though I heard porn is a huge productivity enhancer.

      • @HowieG  @bdorman264  @ginidietrich but my bosses used to surf porn sites…oh wait, that was part of the problem.

        • Keena Lykins

          @NancyD68  @HowieG  @bdorman264  @ginidietrich And personally I prefer that people surf Facebook over porn sites.

    • @bdorman264 Aren’t you Big Brother?

      • @ginidietrich I mean IT big brother, they rule all. They don’t just sit around monitoring everybody, but most times they are consulted if we are bringing someone in for an ‘exit’ interview and there might be some things we need to know about. 
        I figure if they want to ‘see’ my stuff, then have at it.

        • HowieG

          @bdorman264  @ginidietrich he is Big Dorman

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich Big head…..

  • HowieG

    WTF I demand royalties for me inspiring your whole week of posts. If tomorrow your follow friday is someone I have been bragging about like Pete Cashmore…..I will expect a board seat!

    • @HowieG I’m doing a #FF wrapup tomorrow since the whole freaking world seems to be on vacation. But don’t you already have a board seat?

      • HowieG

        @ginidietrich when is the next Board Meeting? I will be there 8)

        • @HowieG  @ginidietrich Hey you, no speedo wearing at the board meeting! Follow some protocol okay?

        • @NancyD68  @HowieG Howie is OK – it’s @bdorman264 you have to watch out for in a Speedo.

        • @ginidietrich  @NancyD68  @HowieG I just got the image of Will Ferrell in his SNL skit w/ the American Speedos in the board room. Nice mental image, huh?

        • @bdorman264  @ginidietrich  @NancyD68  @HowieG Taco, burrito …..

  • theredheadsaid

    This is the same kind of company that monitors your lunch time. I worked for a company like this where one of the project heads came to me and said “Yeah, we noticed you came back from lunch ten minutes late today.” and I said, “yes, did you also notice that I stayed three hours late last night to finish the rush project that you gave me?” NO REACTION. “yeah, we need you to come back on time from lunch.”  Do you think I gave my best work to that company after that? HELLS NO

    • @theredheadsaid I don’t get that. I worked for a company that made us clock in each morning and you were written up if you weren’t there by 8:30. But no one was watching what time you left – which was often 9 or 10 p.m.

      • theredheadsaid

        @ginidietrich i KNOW!! dumbbb. well, it’s remnants of the “butts in seats” productivity model, vs. actual productivity model.

        • @theredheadsaid  @ginidietrich Managers do this because they don’t really know how to manage, either refusing to learn or just not having the opp/training/model (I’ve worked for both in the past)

        • @theredheadsaid And that model may not disappear for a very long time.

      • @ginidietrich  @theredheadsaid I worked at a place that watched what time I came in, what time I started/ended lunch AND what time I left. It drove me crazy. Mass entrance at 8:30. Mass exit at 5:00. Even if I wanted to work late, I wasn’t allowed. And the only way to make up time was to not have lunch. So frustrating.

  • aprilrueber

    Couldn’t agree more! “ginidietrich: Treat People Like Adults and You’ll Have High Productivity vSpinSuckscks”

    • ginidietrich

      aprilrueber Thanks April!

  • I’m trying to remember how I wasted time before the Internet. I don’t recall it exactly, but I’m pretty sure I did. The Internet did not invent time wasting.

    • @RobBiesenbach You read encyclopedias.

      • @ginidietrich I actually remember sometime in the very early 90s when they gave us brand new desktop computers and they had this thing on them. It was life-changing. It was … solitaire! My productivity did dip there for a couple of weeks …

        • @RobBiesenbach HAHAHAHA! You’re totally right. LOL!!

        • @RobBiesenbach  @ginidietrich I totally wasted time playing Mindsweeper. Or at least I think that’s what it was called. Avoiding those little bombs…

        • belllindsay

          @TaraGeissinger  @RobBiesenbach  @ginidietrich Omigod I LOVED Minesweeper!!

        • @TaraGeissinger  Heh. Mindsweeper. Pretty sure that was its chief function — sweeping your mind right up. That and Centipede!

  • Not supporting this, as you know, but there are plenty of dinosaurs out there who still don’t understand social media has a rubies in life, business and especially as a communications tool. Take, for example, the Alaska House who spent the good art of an afternoon discussing opening access to Facebook: Amazing but true…and we elected them!

    • @mdbarber It’s not just the social networks. In my dad’s case, they can’t even get to Google. I don’t know how a research department can do research without the Internet.

      • @ginidietrich Oh, I agree. It’s archaic. Did you read at least the first few paragraphs of the article? Embarrassing to think there are still people who believe it but there are. I don’t understand, and then they wonder why people sneak around doing all this work on phones and iPads that get around their systems.

  • Heidi Ketroser Massey

    So, before I read this, my first reaction was that I would much rather have an office full of children. Context matters once again…

  • ElissaFreeman

    The 10 minutes that I spend ‘liking’, connecting, commenting on my social networks is a mental reprieve.  Do I consider it a waste of time? No. Do I have to limit myself to get back to the task at hand…yes. But, hey,…I’m a big girl and I know how to do that! It’s a shame there are such old school thinkers out there – that run businesses and affect people lives no less….

    • @ElissaFreeman While you’re here, nice Lululemon piece in PR Daily.

      • ElissaFreeman

        @ginidietrich why thank you…thank you very much…

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.


  • I just spent two days speaking to an audience of youth agencies about social media this week. You wouldn’t believe how many times I heard the sites are blocked. It prompted us to write a post about it on our blog yesterday. One huge fear was the possibility of stumbling on inappropriate content. I’ve yet to hear of a web filtering software that perfectly blocks all inappropriate content. That is an arms race you’re setting out to lose.

    • @Karen_C_Wilson In all my years of surfing the web, I have never – not once – stumbled across inappropriate content. People are pretty savvy. They need to be given a little credit.

  • Gini Dietrich

    Heidi, you want to teach kindergarten?

  • Heidi Ketroser Massey

    I worked with kids most of my career. Sometimes, I am much more comfortable with a room full of children than a room full of adults. I have an elementary teaching degree. I brought groups of 100+ to Great America. And rode the rides with them…including the big roller coasters. So yeah, that doesn’t scare me. Not nearly as much as all you adult people.

  • Keena Lykins

    I think this goes back to the earlier discussion about the illusion of being in control. Just as companies can’t control the conversation about their brands, they can’t control employees. Employees are either going to be honest, productive and valuable or they will game the system, steal pens and waste resources. You can’t control their behavior, just your reaction, which means promoting the good ones and sending the bad ones out to “seek new opportunities.”

    • @Keena Lykins And toilet paper! I would totally steal the toilet paper!

      • Keena Lykins

        @ginidietrich I stole toilet paper from the college conference center when I was in college. But then I was so poor I couldn’t afford it otherwise.

  • ginidietrich

    CrosspointMkt Thanks!

    • CrosspointMkt

      ginidietrich You’re welcome!

      • ginidietrich

        CrosspointMkt Are you going to Social Slam next week?

        • CrosspointMkt

          ginidietrich I may be able to make it. Have a client schedule conflict in the early afternoon that I am trying to work around. Hope so! 🙂

        • ginidietrich

          CrosspointMkt Tell the client you have to go! I actually won’t be there this year 🙁

        • CrosspointMkt

          ginidietrich Oh no! For some reason I thought you were speaking again!

        • ginidietrich

          CrosspointMkt I couldn’t make the dates work. I had another commitment already on the calendar

        • CrosspointMkt

          ginidietrich Tell them you had a previous engagement! 😉 Well, we both need to plan our calendars more carefully next year…

  • ginidietrich

    ThePaulSutton Oh! I owe you something.

  • ginidietrich

    JenKaneCo Thanks Jen!

  • ginidietrich

    jpippert And yet is right.

  • ginidietrich

    TMNinja xoxo

  • So, the majority of people on here today are in favor of having social media access in a work setting. This is because we feel strongly about online networking. We use these tools very much to our professional advantage. This notion needs to be transfered into other industries!

    • @Matt_Cerms Not just social media access, Internet access. How would you do your job without it??

      • @ginidietrich Would. Be. Impossible. Really is insane to think about no internet. But I think the social media aspect is worth talking about more. Companies restricting it is a bit more common.

        • @Matt_Cerms Yes…and it drives me crazy when they do. Oy.

  • TheRedDogInn

    jeffespo ginidietrich HEAR HEAR!!!

  • Justjeffpls

    ginidietrich Hasn’t the entertainment industry portrayed clerical types n a bad lite n this area?

  • Classic conflict avoidance workplace behavior. Problem with a few, clamped down on many…and often those “few” don’t even realize that the so-called punishment is aimed at them (in fact, they assume it’s aimed at everyone BUT them). My guess is any one who is sitting at work abusing the internet use policy is likely skirting their responsibilities in other ways too, so places like this should focus on the real issue.

    • @SandeeJackson One hundred thousand percent agree!

  • seventhman

    jkcallas ginidietrich Thanks! It’s all about respect…

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  • Fernando5l5aqy
  • REMedina

    @ginidietrich First of all, I love your posts and read them religiously. But this post got me fired up enough to comment- first time commenter too! I completely agree that companies should treat employees as adults and not monitor or block social sites. However, as a social media employee at a large healthcare company, I also see the risks and understand why things are blocked. It’s not because we think our employees will be unproductive, but it simply comes down to risk and security. We handle extremely important information for our members and one little mistake could easily wreak havoc across the enterprise. As a millenial, I had a hard time understanding this at first, but have learned very quickly why certain business decisions were made and have actually come to support said decisions. Just had to add my two cents for the other side of the table 🙂

    • @REMedina I agree with that…and understand why it happens (still don’t like it). But I’m talking about more than social networks here. My dad works for a research hospital. The work they’re doing is changing modern medicine. And now they don’t have access to simple things such as Google. How can a research hospital do research without the use of search engines? They aren’t doing it because of security reasons; they’re doing it because they want to control “non-work related Internet use.” That’s where I have a problem. If you want people to act like adults, you must treat them as such.

  • ginidietrich

    LisaBarone Smooches!

  • shawmu

    What a concept! RT SAlhir: “shawmu: Treat People Like Adults and You’ll Have High Productivity via ginidietrich”

  • i7Chris

    Outstanding commentary Gini. I couldn’t agree more. And as the landscape continues to change — more digital natives entering the workplace, IT departments embracing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to cut budgets, and company need to increase communications across silos… curtailing access to the internet (no matter how good the intentions) is going to be more and more difficult.

    • @i7Chris Really good point about BYOD and not being able to control that. I’m going to watch that trend…and thanks for the article. I’ll check that out, too.

  • i7Chris

    Check out this applicable article:

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