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Should you rat on a web-surfing co-worker?

by on
in Career Management,Workplace Communication

“My co-worker makes me crazy. At least half the time, when I walk past her desk, she’s surfing the Web, and it doesn’t look work-related. She also has things shipped to the office, so I figure she’s online shopping during work hours, at the very least. It’s not fair that some of us are superproductive while she’s picking out a new cardigan. I’m on the verge of talking to my manager. Should I?”— Frustrated!

Before you go running to the boss, consider two things:

1. Some companies have banned employees from visiting blogs, and a recent survey found that 22% of businesses ban social networking sites. But many companies, even those who monitor employees’ Internet use, have adapted relaxed policies on surfing the Web.

They focus more on whether a task gets done well and on time, rather than worrying about policing every employee’s Web use (as long as it isn’t inappropriate).

2. Focusing on workplace “fairness” is probably not good for you. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether the situation is fair. What matters is whether or not your co-worker is a star performer. Your boss probably cares less about her sweater shopping, and more about whether she’s helping the company bring in the bucks.

As one boss put it, “If less restrictive Internet access helps our employees manage daily tasks, which ultimately lead to higher productivity, then it’s a small price to pay.”

Instead of focusing on fairness, focus on your own stellar performance. Wouldn’t you rather be known as a person who knocks it out of the park than one who blows the whistle?

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