Employers Clamping Down on Workplace Internet Abuse

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Employees spend up to three hours every day surfing the Web on personal business. The result is a major loss in productivity, considerable workplace distraction and a host of other problems—including legal issues, security of company information, and harassment problems (via emails).

It's no wonder more employers are monitoring how their employees use the Internet. A majority of employers not only monitor their employees' Internet use but use software to block connections to inappropriate Web sites.

The big concern among most employers is that employees are increasingly logging on to adult sites, game sites, social networking sites, entertainment sites, shopping/auction sites and sports sites. Some companies monitor their employees Internet use by tracking content, recording keystrokes, or simply monitoring the amount of time an employee spends at the keyboard. Many companies store and review computer files. A sizeable number of companies monitor email.

To nip this issue in the bud, employers should detail the dos and don'ts of company Internet use. They should clearly define what is fair and acceptable regarding how and when employees may use the Internet and lay out rules for proper email use.

Nationally, a majority of employers let their employees know that the company is monitoring content, keystrokes and time spent at the keyboard. Likewise, most employers advise employees that they review their computer use and monitor their emails.

But there is still considable miscommunication between employee and employer. Most new employees receive a huge packet of information on their first day, with the employer's Internet policies buried "on page 59." Internet and email guidelines should be reviewed in person with each new employee. With the percentage of employers monitoring computer on the rise, this information must be communicated clearly. While most employers tolerate a small amount of computer use for personal business at work, employees need to know when they've crossed the line.

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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.


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