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How closely do companies monitor employees emails/ IT use?

(62 Posts)
chelseafan123 Sun 16-Oct-16 16:59:57

Just read something that scared me a bit and made me slightly paranoid (perhaps rightly so?) At work last week the boss was really getting on my nerves. As well as my work email I have my personal account open as do the majority of people in my workplace and I'll occasionally send a personal email.

I sent a horribly scathing email venting about my boss to my friend who works elsewhere, we often exchange silly chat like that and I was saying awful things ableit lighthearted it intended for my friends eyes only.

I did text my friend later saying the boss had actually been ok that afternoon and I felt guilty about saying what I had said.

Is it possible for my company to know I sent that email? It was on a hotmail account that I logged out of at the end of the day. Could they remotely monitor my computer or just my work email account?

exWifebeginsat40 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:06:53

technically they could be monitoring you all day every day. I'm surprised your workplace doesn't block access to webmail as its notorious for accidental viruses and phishing that could affect company systems.

I would advise getting out of the habit of slating your boss while you're at work, regardless of the platform. it's very easy to send the wrong thing to the wrong person and if you do it on company time or company email you could be in a world of shit. the company owns the computer you use, the systems you use and your work email account and any and all of it can be scrutinised at a startling level of detail.

PeachBellini123 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:08:24

It depends on how closely they monitor things but I know my company can see emails and things such as facebook messages if they are sent on work PCs.

You really, really shouldn't be using your work pc for anything personal. Lots of companies are cracking down on this. The excuse that everyone else does it won't ho down well...

potentialqualms Sun 16-Oct-16 17:10:41

Yes, they could see everything you do. Reality is they're highly unlikely to unless they have cause to investigate you over something.

Never send those sort of emails though. Far to easy to send it to the wrong person or for the recipient to forward it accidently

potentialqualms Sun 16-Oct-16 17:12:42

Peach it's not necessarily true that you shouldn't be using work computers for anything personal. Our policy says "reasonable" personal use is ok

PeachBellini123 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:14:57

Sorry I meant personal emails, you're right we are allowed to use it during lunch for example to browse news sites etc

MrsPear Sun 16-Oct-16 17:15:12

As closely as they want! Never ever do anything remotely non work on your PC - there is no real excuse these days what with smart phones / tablets. Oh and you shouldn't connect those to work either.

CauliflowerSqueeze Sun 16-Oct-16 17:17:32

At a school I worked at, the system took a virtual photo every 3 seconds and alerted the network manager with any swearing etc.

Sometimes it would show a screenshot with something like "Middlesex" on it.

YuckYuckEwwww Sun 16-Oct-16 17:18:15

if you wanna send personal emails on your break that you wouldn't want your employers to know about, send it from your tablet or phone

rumpelstiltskin43 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:18:32

The company I work for records everything, on every computer, 24/7. It's only usually looked at if there's a specific reason to do so, but the info is still there.

Never, never, ever conduct any personal business on a company computer.

YuckYuckEwwww Sun 16-Oct-16 17:19:50

Peach it's not necessarily true that you shouldn't be using work computers for anything personal. Our policy says "reasonable" personal use is ok

Just consider it all public

On breaks at work I might look up local events or news, that sort of thing, maybe I'll look at the gym timetable for after work or double check the kids term time, nothing really personal

catgirl1976 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:20:04

Your employer is not allowed to look at your personal emails without very good cause. So they should not access your Hotmail account. Of course that doesn't mean they won't

Your work e-mail account is fair game.

YuckYuckEwwww Sun 16-Oct-16 17:23:06

It's only usually looked at if there's a specific reason to do so, but the info is still there.

I worked with someone who fell out with a colleague, colleague lied to manager and said "they just spend all day online" (not true, they worked very hard but did use the internet personally ocassionally, no more than anyone else)

Because there had been a complaint, their whole internet use history (which had been stored) was trawled through, and they found that she re-listed something on ebay whilst at work - so she was using work equipment for personal financial gain or something, which was against contract and she was seriously disciplined and nearly fired

Thingvellir Sun 16-Oct-16 17:26:44

If you used a work device/PC then they have a right to monitor. My company also has a right to monitor what I do on my personal device, if I am using the company wifi when I send it - the latter has certain terms and conditions, about not using the company wifi to do anything unsavoury or illegal online. Most monitoring is set to screen words and also attachments.

As a general rule, don't log onto your personal email account on a work device, and don't use your work email for anything personal. Now we al have the internet and email in our phones, shouldn't be too hard to stick to this

bloodyteenagers Sun 16-Oct-16 17:29:24

Depends on the working environment exactly what is monitored. Ours is set to monitor everything including personal emails. It's also in the contracts and additional IT contract that is signed at least once a year that everything is monitored, and that using personal emails on our systems is not allowed, by logging into personal emails you are agreeing to us monitoring it or words to that effect.

Just think of it as your boss standing always over your shoulder.

TaterTots Sun 16-Oct-16 17:35:38

I very much doubt they are monitoring your personal email, unless there has been any suggestion that you spend too much time online. That said, it's always worth being careful with emails like that - a friend of mine once forwarded an email her boss had sent her, along the lines of 'can you believe this twat?' Only she accidentally hit 'reply all' instead of 'forward' shockblush

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Sun 16-Oct-16 17:36:42

At a school I worked at, ..the system alerted the manager to any swearing

Yes, my son got blocked from the computer system for misspelling country as "cuntry". grin

TaterTots Sun 16-Oct-16 17:38:03

Thank goodness the school wasn't in Scunthorpe!

BowieFan Sun 16-Oct-16 17:39:24

I'm a teacher and we can't get onto our personal e-mail accounts at work. It's a pain in the backside when a kid has homework they've e-mailed to me to check before they properly submit, but because of the swearing filter it doesn't get through if they've quoted a text that involves swearing. They have to go to the IT department to access their personal email who'll print it off.

I remember it being really irrating when we were doing Educating Rita and they sent me e-mails of their homework (we always do this as a back-up and it allows me to have a quick peruse over something if a child is struggling and I can target them for more attention) which never got through because that play is full of swearing!

I wouldn't use my work PC for anything too personal. I've looked on the Union website and YouTube occasionally after work so I have some music to mark to. Other than that I just wait until I get home. I don't know how much our work e-mail is checked, not that I'm bothered because even our head would tell you most of the time we use it to just have a general moan about things.

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 17:41:00

Yes, using eBay to sell anything on would get you fired at my college, apparently. You're running another business while at work.

chelseafan123 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:45:27

I'm panicking now. I haven't used it for personal browsing for any significant length of time at all and it was just for firing off a venting email and I know I should have known better. I don't know the ins and outs of the IT policy to be honest but it never really crossed my mind someone would be screenshotting my screen or remotely monitoring what I was doing. I don't work at a school. Do you think it's likely work could have seen the email I sent then?

potentialqualms Sun 16-Oct-16 17:48:16

No, I don't think anyone's seen it but it's likely that it's been recorded, should anyone have a reason to look

e1y1 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:49:28

Really depends on the company.
When I worked in a contact centre, not only were all calls recorded, but the screens were too (as in live record, so they could match up screen navigation/actions to the audio on the call).
Even then, they could check anything that had gone through their network, a lot of major "danger" sites were blocked of course - Adult, Gambling, Violence etc. Most others were allowed, and to be honest, as long as you weren't actually on call then they didn't mind.
But if your cards were marked as it were, they could use that to get rid of you.
Saw loads go this way.

So would treat it as it can always be checked at anytime.

AcrossthePond55 Sun 16-Oct-16 17:50:10

I'm retired now, but my former employer (US Govt Agency) made very sure that we understood that anything we did on our computers was subject to caching and monitoring. It was understood that it was absolutely NOT private in any way and that our office management had the right to monitor keystrokes, websites accessed, etc.

Regardless of office policy, though, it's best to operate under the philosophy of 'If I wouldn't shout it out loud in the middle of the office, I shouldn't email it using the office server'.

YuckYuckEwwww Sun 16-Oct-16 17:52:45

Yes, using eBay to sell anything on would get you fired at my college, apparently. You're running another business while at work

Yeah that's what she said, it was on her break and she just checked her account and clicked "re-list" but it was taken as a serious offence, she was very nearly fired.

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