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Those pesky time stamps

We got a response from a previous post about removing time stamps while Facebooking at work. One upset employer sent a note to our boss saying this was a way for us to show workers how to "steal" from the company.

Spending time on Facebook at work is tricky, I think, but you have to know the culture of your company. If you're in a cubicle/office environment with constant web access (that allows access to sites like Gmail, Hotmail and Facebook) I think it's a given that people will also be on Facebook at work. Walk around our office and you can see that screen up on most computers.

If you work in an environment like this, I don't see anything wrong with occasional visits to Facebook during work. Does this same employer go around and limit personal conversations at a water cooler because they are also "stealing time" from the company? I view Facebook posts as the present-day equivalent to such chatter -- it certainly is at my office. Are smokers not allowed to take breaks because they are also on the clock?

A broader point: I've written about workplace and employment issues for years, and firmly believe that breaks make more productive workers. Granted, I work in an industry that is knowledge-based and values creativity.  But taking breaks makes you less stressed. It makes you happy. You work harder. That should make your boss happy, too.

—Niala

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I'm glad this guy wrote in, because it's brought up some interesting conversation at work. I can understand where the employer is coming from on this. You don't want people wasting time at work. But what about when an employer "steals" your personal time because you are answering work related e-mails on your BlackBerry at all hours of the day?

I don't think you can deny your co-workers the right to log into a social networking site or personal e-mail every once in a while. Just as long as the employee gets their work done. I agree 100 percent with Niala's post.

For me, not being able to go on Facebook is the same as not having a cell phone with me. You're disconnected with the world, and it's not a good feeling.

I have friends and family who work for companies that block sites like Facebook. I wouldn't be happy working in an environment like that... but I guess I could get around it by investing in a smart phone with a Facebook app to keep me connected.

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