Returning to work after the holidays I noticed that LinkedIn had been added to the list of Internet sites blocked by my employer. I was kind of surprised. I felt that LinkedIn in was a useful tool for me in my job.
My previous employer had a pretty liberal internet access policy, usually only blocking porn and gambling sites. I’m still amazed they allowed employees to access Facebook during work hours. However, this is a company that believes heavily in social media. They promote their employee blogs and even employ a Chief Listener.
I know some people are very active on LinkedIn, posting frequent status updates and connecting with people at all times of the day. Some people perceive LinkedIn as a business-oriented networking site, not far removed from Facebook. They feel it should be banned from the workplaces, along with all other social media sites. My most active connections on LinkedIn tend to be the unemployed and business owners.
My employer blocks blogs, which can be frustrating when I’m trying to solve a technical issue with MS Project or Excel and the answer I’m seeking is in a blog that I can’t access. I work for a financial institution and I understand the need to be sure employees are using their internet access wisely.
I found LinkedIn useful at my workplace because it allows me to look up people I am working with and get a feel for their background. We had issues last year with a vendor Project Manager and LinkedIn was able to tell me that he had only been employed with that company a year, which explained why he didn’t seem to know the product very well. We have been hiring lots of employees, contractors and consultants so I find it helpful to understand where these people were previously employed and in what capacity.
I tried not to abuse the privilege of having access to LinkedIn. I saved my “networking” on LinkedIn for the evening hours, when I wasn’t at work but I would occasionally log in during the day to see the activity of others. I see LinkedIn as a business tool and was disappointed to lose access to it at work. I realize I can still do many of these things at home but I’m less apt to. I’m sure some of the sales employees are also sad to lose access from work.
I’m curious to hear about other companies’ policies when it comes to LinkedIn. Do you have access to LinkedIn at work? Do you use it? What do you find it most useful for? Obviously my employer felt it was enough of an issue that they blocked it altogether.