March Madness, sometimes prefixed by the word “Mega” (for a good reason), is a pay-per-view coverage of games within the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. So, why am I talking about basketball on a business site? Very good question!
There are a lot of people around the country who are big fans of sports. Some of them are employees working for you, and they’re probably inclined to watch the series to make sure they squeeze as much juice out of it as possible.
Why is this a problem, you ask? Have a look at a report by Challenger Gray that shows in this event alone, millions of hours of productive work are lost due to employees being distracted by their use of office computers to watch the footage. This is not exclusive to March Madness, of course. Three things happen during major events coverage during working hours, according to GFI Software’s blog:
- Since employees are using bandwidth to stream videos onto their devices, they’ll take up a lot of valuable bandwidth that you could otherwise allocate for other endeavors. Streaming can take up to 10 Mbits of your traffic per minute.
- Employees will be monitoring these events to see results. This will distract them and make them unable to produce as much work as they normally do, cutting in on your productivity.
- Your network may be compromised by one of your employees if he/she becomes a victim of a hacker’s lure. Hackers often take advantage of big events to make fake websites and plugins that promise to show live coverage. It ends up leading to a virus download very easily!
So, how do we deal with these problems? GFI Software — which, by the way, is a web filtering company that deals with these kinds of issues — comes back to the rescue:
- Tell your employees not to do it. Communicate with them. Tell them that they should avoid streaming stuff in the middle of work time.
- Bring in the artillery and deploy software that will filter malicious websites and lets you place caps on how much your employees can download. You can limit streaming to half an hour or 100 MB per day, for example. And if you don’t want to get into legal trouble, block gambling websites also.
- Configure the software, if possible, to alert you of any activity that could raise a red flag (i.e. someone trying to access a gambling site or a social network), which will allow you to decide on a course of action for these activities.
Of course, you should allow your employees to have some wiggle room in the workplace, as this has a positive effect on productivity, but you should also be able to make sure that they don’t get carried away. Tools like GFI Software’s web filtering solution will help you properly maintain an orderly workplace while letting employees have a little bit of fun.