Can we have an FAQ or something about emails in company time and the who what why's and wherefores?

(27 Posts)

Leading on from a recent thread of mine, I have realised that there seems to be a great deal of confusion about the status and implications of sending emails from a company work address, surfing the Internet in company time and all that.

Would there be any way there could be an FAQ or info put out here about that? Is that a good idea?

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 09:34:08

Um, surely that is company / institution-specific, and should be outlined in a local policy?

True. I agree. But even something like check your policy? Usual ones include things like XYZ?

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 09:36:33

Yes, I suppose so. Although your thread (that I assume you're referring to) did raise a lot of these issues.

I know. But I also know I'm not going to revisit the issues on that thread. And I thought a more general thing might be useful.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 09:45:35

I think it's a good idea. Just start a thread in chat though, with a good clear title, particularly if this is your area of expertise. Or is there an employment law / similar topic?

Email / Internet use is a tricky one. As an employee, I'm not personally going to take the piss, but having annoying restrictions on what websites you can use when etc. makes it feel like the assumption is that you will take the piss. I really don't know if the potential positive (of stopping a very small number of people from taking the piss; anyway, I'm sure these people will just think of a whole new way to waste time!) outweighs the real negative (of everyone feeling that they aren't trusted).

It's all - I don't know the answer to your question. But imagine how dangerous it would be for a company if employees could send what they liked and they had no way to check or monitor what was coming and going.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:16:25

Well, I'm not sure what the great danger is, but I agree that the ability to monitor Internet and email usage is useful to employers. I'd prefer that, outlined clearly in a local policy, rather than a more Draconian set of Internet controls.

That's what I mean though itsall - people have no clue what's in their own company policy.

Dangers of someone downloading porn onto company computers, sending racist, disablist and other harassing type emails? If those emails aren't being monitored and companies have no right to look then they will get away with it?

Tee2072 Sat 06-Apr-13 11:22:03

Not really the place for it and would MN be liable if they did do such a thing and missed something and someone got in trouble?

I agree, a thread is better.

True Tee. I know I haven't thought it through I was just pondering because so many people seemed to think they could do what they liked.

Tee2072 Sat 06-Apr-13 11:26:14

I think anyone who thinks they can do what they like at work is heading for disaster anyway and no FAQ on MN is going to help.

Of course, I work for myself and do do what I like!

grin

grin me too isn't it fab?

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:27:46

So, porn, racism, disablism, and harassment... But Internet / email monitoring at my place of work isn't the reason that I don't download porn / send disablist emails etc.

I think that Internet / email policies need to be balanced - most people are normal and hard working, only the minority are not. I understand that employers need the right to monitor emails / Internet use, but I think that this should be a low level background activity, or possibly only used if there are other concerns about a particular employee.

Tee2072 Sat 06-Apr-13 11:29:08

I think most big companies, ItsAll, have software with keywords that flag suspicious emails up, as opposed to someone reading all of the emails.

Itsall - I agree.

But the other thread threw up the surprising fact (for me) that a lot of people thought that work had no right to monitor emails at all and that emails were personal and private. Even if sent on work time, through work servers and via a work email address

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:31:56

Yes, Tee, I imagine that you're right.

It makes me cross when I try to access a particular website that I really do need for work purposes, to be told that it's (often incorrectly) classified as a social networking or news site or whatever, and that my use of it will be logged and monitored.

As long as you're there for legit work purposes what's the problem?

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:34:00

For me, I think it's the default position of employers being suspicion instead of trust.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:34:26

I'm not paranoid, honest grin.

But can you see that the employers have to cover their asses or they risk law suits right left and centre?

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:38:05

I can. I don't mean to be obstructive, I'm just arguing that the detail of these policies and how they are applied is important, and questioning their real overall effect on employee moral etc.

I'm going to read the relevant policies at my work on Monday grin.

grin I'm not trying to be dense or deliberately awkward either.

Shoulda read 'em before you signed 'em <runs away>

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:40:10

I did! I just don't have a photographic memory to fill with lots of (boring) policies grin.

grin they are very boring. Until they collide with real life and wrong doing and then they are suddenly very important.

ItsAllTLAsToMe Sat 06-Apr-13 11:45:56

That's true. I'll re-read our policies on Monday, I promise smile.

This website has some information about why companies monitor emails, Data Loss Prevention here There is also a white paper explaining in more details. Companies are not doing because they are interested in what Brenda said to Peter or Pauline, but to prevent legal action and data breaches. I know it is in relation to an add on to a complete email security solution, which details inbound email filtering. It is really about a holistic view on email security. You prevent virus and malware and junk coming in, and sensitive data going out.

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