How To Stop Employee Internet Abuse
How To Stop Employee Internet Abuse.
How do businesses deal with employee internet abuse?
I’ve seen lots of ads for software that can monitor almost every detail of Internet usage, but I’m not sure that’s the best approach, at least as a starting point.
For one thing, monitoring employee behavior in a sneaky kind of way is a sure recipe for mistrust and low morale.
I think it’s far better to set rules openly and discuss them with employees to get their buy-in, and even their signature.
These internet use rules are usually enshrined in a document called an Internet Acceptable Use Policy which should be part of your employee handbook.
The value of having this in writing and sharing it throughout your business is that no one can subsequently claim they didn’t know the rules. So if you had to let someone go for breaking the rules, you would have the document as proof that they knew of the policies. This could prevent an Employment Practices Liability. (EPL) claim for wrongful terminations, or help your case if the EPL claim is filed.
Typically this would make clear:
- Whether any non-business Internet access is permissible at all.
- If permitted, when: for example, during breaks. This should include personal email checks.
- Whether company PCs can be used, or personal devices only.
- What kind of activity is permitted? For instance, you would almost certainly want to ban downloads and can set up your PCs so they can’t download.
- Access to all adult and gambling sites is forbidden.
- Whether personal storage such as USB drives can be connected to company devices.
- The sanction, such as warning, suspension, or dismissal, for breaking the rules.
If you suspect misuse, you should tackle it head-on with the abuser. And if you decide to install monitoring software, you should likely do it across the board and tell employees what you’re doing.
You should also have rules on Internet usage outside of the office that relates to your business. For example, can employees mention their jobs and your business if they blog, tweet or use social networks?
Be realistic in setting your policies. Many people get emails and message alerts in real time on their smartphone. It’d be difficult to stop that, but you can insist that only urgent items are dealt with during normal working time.
By showing a fair and realistic attitude towards Internet usage, you’re more likely to get cooperation from your employees and reduce the risk of abuse. So get that policy written or reviewed today!
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