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To what extent do you think employers should block employee access to online sites, social networking accounts or monitor email?


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Employers should not monitor employees' electronic communication at all without first having a written policy clearly notifying employees that the employer's electronic communication system is subject to monitoring at any time, without notice, at the employer's sole discretion. Employers who make extensive use of electronic communications systems without the protection of a good policy on the subject are looking for trouble. Frankly, the safest course is to get every employee's signed, written consent. The goal is to disabuse employees of any expectation of privacy when using the equipment. Advance written consent will normally protect employers from liability when monitoring occurs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Employers should monitor, filter, block whatever they want on the internet. It is THEIR network. Most employers I've seen have the standard statement on their login screens to that effect, though most employees have never read the entire thing.

I've watched security people mirror a desktop as employees were day-trading in stocks for weeks. They built a case for termination with cause. Hard to see how anyone could daytrade 8+ hrs a day AND get their work done.

When you are at home, do whatever you like with the internet connection, not on the employers time or using their equipment.

I don't have any issue if an employer wants to block cellular data on their premises either. I've worked at secure facilities like that and think it is a good idea. Blocking should be legally required for movie theatres.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Lets put it this way, would you call relatives overseas and speak for hours on your company phone? Didnt think so. So why should you do anything not related to your work on a company computer and network? You have a smartphone, use that to update everyone about your tasty lunch, plans for the weekend and researching cheap plane tickets to Phuket.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'm not keen on monitoring except where there's a specific reason to do so. Treat your employees as adults. However, I think a strong case can be made for blocking certain sites. My Facebook feed is pretty quiet at the weekend, but far, far busier during working hours which suggests that a lot of people are using it to dodge work.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All they have to do is set forth a "policy " for their employees. The do' & don'ts. Then have their IT department monitor any suspected abuse.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's not just about having a policy - "we may spy in your emails, but we warned you in advance" is a policy that one can't really complain about, but it's not exactly a good way to foster a trusting working environment.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@ADK99 Consider the larger picture. Employees are using company kit, company software licenses, company network, servers, etc. Your employer has various risks in regards to compliance with labor laws, privacy laws, discrimination lawsuits, etc. They even need to avoid potentially embarrassing situations should it come out that you are posting odd things on Facebook at work. I work for a massive multi-national and know they are monitoring my every move - I have no problem with it at all. These tools are provided at great cost to facilitate my work, not my recreation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Meguroman - Sure, I understand that and as I mentioned, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with blocking certain sites. I think email is a little different though, and I think most people use their work email address for non-work purposes to some extent. Given the volume of email sent and received by most people these days, I think it's fair to say that routinely monitoring emails is not a practical/cost-effective method of stopping the kinds of misuse you're talking about. It is, however, giving license to someone at a company to be able to read emails that, whilst sent on a company email address, are intended to be private. And yes, I know, if you don't want your mail to be read then don't use a company email address... just seems like a poor way to deal with your employees. For what it's worth, I employee 4 people and theoretically have access to their work email accounts. I have informed our staff that I wouldn't dream of reading their emails without a very specific reason, and that they will be informed in person of the reason, and invited to discuss the topic beforehand. Naive, perhaps, but on the plus side we don't waste resources on ploughing through junkmails, Linkedin notifications, invitations to networking events or conversations with spouses over who's going to pick up the kids.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My employer does that... some completely innocent sites are blocked because they perhaps have proscribed words or phrases in the title, or are social networking sites...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To what extent do you think employers should block employee access to online sites, social networking accounts or monitor email?

How about NONE?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't block access to any websites, nor disallow my staff to use any websites. I also don't monitor their email, though all mail using company addresses gets logged.

I don't mind if they are using the internet for their own things while at work, as long as they are getting their work done, and getting it done well.

If they don't get it done, or don't get it done well, they are out of a job when it comes contract renegotiation time. And if they are using company resources to illegal means, then they will be out of a job as well. So I don't need to, nor want to, micromanage their time throughout the day. If they are not the type to be able to responsibly use the internet at work, then they aren't the right type for our company.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If they have to control their employees so tightly, then maybe the company is not very good. Judge employees on results, as Strangerland says. If you have to pretend to look busy, then the job is just a waste of time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

imho, work computer should just be for work, anything else can be done through your phone. That aside, if you constantly find your employees browsing social media sites, it says that his/her job is not as interesting as knowing what her friends' lunch were, in that case something needs to be done, like giving her work that actually stimulate her motivations, easier said than done I know.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A friend from one of Japan Inc's biggest companies is never off social media (though that's not his role), and that's why he's such a great asset to the company.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People should not FaceBook at work or watch porno!! (Unless you are the CEO)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Appears we all work in very different industries. Bank computers shouldn't have direct internet access, if any at all. It is a security issue. You don't want hackers stealing your money through a bank computer, right?

Other industries are similarly regulated with mandatory security requirements.

If I worked at an art studio or car showroom, I can see allowing pretty much any access at all. OTOH, if my computer is controlling telecom switches or nuclear power systems, certainly ZERO internet access would be the rule and all network traffic should be monitored by the employer.

Do your private internet stuff on your own network and your own time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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