Software to cut surfing and boost productivity

Office enforcer

By Selina Sharratt

He’s been dubbed the "nanny of the net" but Queensland small business owner and operator Roger Manu makes no apologies for his spy-style software.

Father-of-three and CEO of software program 123educateme, Mr Manu set out on a quest to build a program that gave parents greater internet control.

After the product’s launch and subsequent success, he’s now set his sights on the internet usage of the workforce.

His latest software effort, Enforcer Enterprise, is based on the same model of 123educateme that allows the employer to set a designated amount of time that employees are able to surf the net and which non-work related sites the user can visit.

Once the quota is used the program locks out the user and subsequently they are only able to use designated work sites.

Mr Manu said that online time wastage costs Australian businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity and he believed his software could save businesses thousands.

"After talking to a lot of small business owners their feedback was that if you give staff too much leeway they spend far too much time surfing the internet for personal use," Mr Manu said.

"Sites that (were found to have been) abused were Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and eBay or just surfing the net for fun and games."

He said he encouraged employers who take on the software to sit down with staff and determine what amount of time was reasonable for free time on the internet.

Queensland University of Technology senior research fellow School of Management Dr Paula McDonald said the software raised the issue of trust.

"Trust is a big issue, if employees are being blocked from particular sites to what extent does that potentially violate the trust relationship between the employer and employee," Dr McDonald said.

"I can understand the employers are concerned about being robbed of their work time but there could be personal reasons why these people need to go to these certain sites."

Mr Manu denied the suggestion employers who use the software were unwittingly labelling themselves as the "fun police".

"We are not the fun police, we understand you need to do online banking, say ‘hi’ to your friends, surf the net but it needs to be reasonable," Mr Manu says.

"In my mind two hours a day is reasonable and some may think five minutes a day is reasonable."

Whatever the reaction from staff, it appears that both parents and employers are liking the program.

The success of 123educateme and Enforcer Enterprise has forced Mr Manu to expand his business to two Queensland offices which are on the lookout for more staff.

However, a word from the wise – online time-wasters need not apply. Enforcer Enterprise is only available for download from

Article from The Courier Mail, August 9, 2010.

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