Controlling Website Access For Employees

Posted March 15, 2019 by Mary McGinley

For some businesses, it is standard practice to block employee access to some websites. Almost every business owner hopes that the employee is contentious enough to spend time at work actually working rather than goofing off online.

Saige Driver, Media Strategist at, recently reported that many small business owners do worry about certain websites reducing the productivity of workers. With increasing concerns about online privacy and Internet security they feel that by preventing workers from accessing inappropriate websites such as social media, pornography and gambling sites is entirely warranted.

Other small business owners disagree. By restricting accessing everything that is not “work related”, Jonathan Prichard, founder and CEO of MatressInsider feels that it can also be the quickest way to demotivate your employees because it means that decision makers and managers simply don’t trust them. “Restricting access paints you as a micromanager and will 100 percent reduce employee satisfaction,” Prichard said.

Others feel that allowing employees an odd moment to check on things that are not work-related can help them to refocus and get back to work in a relatively short period of time.

But what do you as a business owner to make sure that more is at stake and access to certain cites can be a security risk or put a serious dent in worker security?

Here are some of the steps to take to block access to certain websites by your workers while they are online at work.

  1. Make a list of websites that should be blocked. Let workers and HR staff know about why access to certain sites is restricted and any changes in company policy about internet use and what your expectations are. Keep in mind not everything on your list of restricted sites may be applicable to every employee. You may have workers within departments that need to access to certain sites for research or other work-related projects.

  2. Most IT professionals recommend the easiest way to restrict employee access is by using a browser that makes it possible. Google’s Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft’s Edge browsers all have plugins and features at the administrative level that can block certain websites. It also helps to have just one browser that is approved company-wide.

Another option which was more popular about 10 years ago but is less used today is to install employee monitoring software your company’s network. These give companies the ability to monitor how workers spend their time while they are at work. These will keep track of URL’s visited, how long they are inactive, and will track each keystroke or mouse click made. This method, however, is considered to be extreme and can actually give the impression that workers are not trusted that Prichard warned about.