Curbing employee misuse of technology through"e-breaks"

It's ironic that after yesterday's post on how workers are supposedly turning their employee's technology to their advantage comes an article on how employers can deal with this management-related problem.

Indeed, it has been reported that one particular employer - Virgin Money - has introduced an "e-break" to curtail Internet and e-mail abuse in the workplace.

In the article - E-breaks to replace tea breaks at work (Jane Fraser, The Scotsman) - Virgin's policy is said to involve:

"...staff will be allowed 15 minutes to do online shopping and other personal tasks at work. With time-wasting constituting the main concern for employers looking to curb e-mail and internet abuse, the scheme could help maximise productivity, while still allowing employees a measure of freedom."

I'd say that there is nothing new about this scheme whatsoever. Managers have been making formal and informal concessions to workers since industrialisation began. It's called accommodation in sociology and tokenism in social psychology. All that is different is the situation, i.e. ICT, like telephones and the use of machinery for 'homers', is now a focus of contention between employer and employee.

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