Protecting against viruses and encouraging productivity is all well and good, Farhad Manjoo writes on Slate, but “locking down” company computers isn’t the way to go about it. Companies that “block the Web and various other online distractions on the theory that a cowed workforce is an efficient one” are actually losing out. Research shows that workers who can surf freely are 9% more productive than those who can't.
“Why?” Manjoo wonders of the study. “Because we aren't robots; people with Web access took short breaks to look online while doing their work, and the distractions kept them sharper than the folks who had no choice but to keep on task.” Firms that focus more on results and less on policing are at the vanguard of tech innovation. If IT wants to stem the virus threat, they can educate workers instead of employing paternalistic tactics. Otherwise, let the mind wander and reap the bounty.