Ever walked past and employees desk and noticed their Facebook page open? Or even a shopping site or bank statement? Unfortunately, as more companies become plugged into the Internet and reliant on technology to run their businesses, they have to deal with problems of Internet abuse among employees.
Although the Internet is an important resource for helping employees stay in touch via email or to obtain research information, it is also becoming increasingly easy for your employees to get off task. This usually includes surfing the web, dealing with personal financial accounts and checking personal email. This can also end up costing you money - viruses and malware come from accessing unfamilair internet websites, and clicking on links in emails and social networking sites. Making your sensitive electronic data vulnerable.
The most challenging part about Internet abuse in the workplace is that it is difficult to set rules for and even more difficult to police. (Complicated even more by smart phones…)
Another common concern for employers is that employees are using the Internet for illegal things, such as looking at pornography, or that they are being completely unproductive at work.
Some employers have turned to monitoring computers for productivity. This would mean actually keeping tabs of the Internet search history on employees’ computers. It would also mean confronting your employees if you find evidence that they are not behaving appropriately at work.
Other employers have opted for simply limiting access to the Internet. This means putting a block on certain websites, such as hotmail.com or yahoo.com if you do not want employees checking their personal email from work. Of course, either monitoring or limiting employee Internet access might lead to feelings of hostility from employees that feel they are being “parented” at work.
You may or may not feel comfortable with these procedures. If not, then other options need to be considered in order to ensure that employees are staying on task and not looking at inappropriate information on the web.
These other options should include setting guidelines that are clearly stated in the employee handbook and are regularly discussed at work meetings and during the hiring process. As well, all employees should be treated with the same standards to ensure that these guidelines are followed.
Remember that if you have a serious problem with a particular employee not staying on task due to Internet abuse, this needs to be dealt with by giving sufficient warnings and disciplinary action. It can also be considered cause for termination, if the behavior does not change.
For more information on protecting your employees computers at work review my blog Your Employees Are Being Attacked.
Losses to electronic data are more and more common now that we depend on technology so heavily. There also may be coverage on your business owners policy if you have lost electronic data due to viruses and malware or hardware issues. Give us a call to talk about Electronic Data Protection or for a free review of your policy.