Companies With Restrictive Tech Policies Encourage Disobedience

Companies imposing restrictions on technology could encourage disobedience among employees, according to research by Samsung, which says UK office workers are the most likely to circumvent bans on social media, messaging applications consumer cloud services.

According to 4,500 employees across Europe, it was found that only 51 percent of respondents said their employer gave them complete freedom to use technology, but 17 percent said their bosses assumed their workers had very little tech knowledge and were subject to “extreme” restrictions.

Across Europe, 40 percent of respondents said they were banned from using Facebook at work, but 41 percent of UK users said they knowingly ignores such bans either in defiance of workplace bans or by using their won technology. Germans were the next most likely at 34 percent while the French were the most obedient with 20 percent.

Samsung workplace restrictions

The hospitality industry was the most likely to impose restrictions on the social network, with 57 percent, but they had the second most disobedient employees, with 38 percent using Facebook anyway.

“From a security point of view, it’s perfectly natural that employers should want to control their employees’ use of technology, to a degree,” says Dimitrios Tsivrikos, Consumer and Business Psychologist at University College London. “The days when employees would simply follow the rules without questioning them are truly behind us. Trust, clear communication and meaningful frameworks are far more effective at facilitating constructive behaviour – both at work and at play.

“Banning technologies and websites in the workplace often has the opposite effect to that intended, as this study shows. Real trust must be mutual. Organisations are far better off observing how employees are working, and then finding ways to make this behaviour compatible with the workplace.”

Two fifths of UK users also admitted to using cloud applications, messaging and VoiP apps, video streaming or Twitter, with those aged between 18-34 the most likely to defy workplace bans.

Younger generation

“The younger generation is showing what workplaces will look like in just a few years’ time,” adds Robb Orr, Samsung’s vice president of enterprise in Europe. “Businesses cannot afford for their employees to break corporate security and Internet policies as a matter of routine.

“Add in the fact that workers are increasingly using their personal devices at work, and their work devices for personal tasks, and it is evident that organisations need clearly-defined boundaries between both that are understood – and obeyed – by employees.”

Samsung suggests users use a mobile device management system, like its Knox platform which promises employees the freedom to use their phone how they want while also providing the management features and policies demanded by employees.

Similarly BlackBerry 10’s Balance feature separates apps and files into two separate work and personal profiles, while Secure Work Space does the same for Android and iOS devices in BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES 10) environments.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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