Streaming is everywhere. Once the ultimate symbol of the household, the television has beamed its way from the confines of the living room and into the busy hands of commuters, students, and professionals everywhere. What once served as an after-work wind-down aide has become, to many employers, an on-the-clock distraction. On the other hand, some companies find it worth to ease on streaming restrictions, reasoning that a happy employee is a loyal employee.

Regardless of which side employers take on the streaming debate, IT professionals are the ones who end up having to do the tough work of maintaining a functioning network. In a streaming-friendly environment, they face issues caused by system overload. In a streaming-free workplace, they’re duty-bound to keep the networks free from cartoon binges and hours of basketball games.

What is the IT professional’s role when it comes to workplace streaming?

The Rules are the Rules.

No matter your opinion on streaming, it’s your job as an IT professional to enforce your company’s policies. If the higher-ups think you should stop people from streaming, you should stop people from streaming. Similarly, if your company wants to let people’s TV habits slow down your networks a little, it’s not your place to start demanding that employees stick to business.

The Network’s the Thing.

Networks needs to perform. Even if your company offers a generous streaming policy, you might need to step in and say something if your company’s Wi-Fi starts to drag due to a bunch of employees spending Monday morning catching up on this fall’s new hit drama.

While you may not be a rule maker, you are a company subject matter expert, and your employers will appreciate your input. When weighing the pros and cons of at-work streaming, focus on the essential question: how is this behavior affecting the network? If the network can accommodate a few slackers vegging out in anticipation of the lunch hour, let your company know. But if streaming prevents work from getting done, it’s time to step in.

Be Realistic and Communicate.

People stream. There’s no way to completely stop it from happening. To ensure that your bosses write regulations that are both realistic about people’s habits and safeguard the steady flow of online data, you need to communicate accurate information to everyone involved.


Streaming is still new. When it comes to workplace best practices regarding this technology, the jury is still out. This debate will play out in the big picture throughout the next few years. In the meantime, your best bet is to keep in mind the real world effects of your workplace’s streaming and to keep communication lines open and accurate.