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Should you monitor your employees' internet use?

25th January 2018

Should you monitor your employees’ internet use?

This is a tough question for business owners. Whilst you want to encourage a culture and working atmosphere of trust and respect, it’s all too easy for employees to abuse the access they have to the internet.

There’s a balance to be had between getting employees to understand that their time should be spent on your business, and giving them the freedom to manage their time – which in turn can actually make people more productive. So, how do the best companies get this right?

Be realistic

Most people don’t abuse the access they have to the internet, so employers are likely to fare better if they assume that their workforce is almost exclusively trustworthy. This realism shows your staff that you have good levels of trust in them, and they are then less likely to do anything that betrays that trust.

Be fair

Think about how people might be using your internet. By all means restrict access to sites that fall outside your general company policies – online betting sites and dating sites, for example. But if you’re happy to let people go out into town and shop during their lunch hour, why not let them shop online? And if the period during a 9-5.30 work day means some people can only book appointments or raise queries online during the day, why make their lives more difficult?

Be consistent

There are alternatives to monitoring employees’ use of the internet – and one of those is to develop a clear policy around internet and email use. This policy should be given to each employee during their induction process and clearly explained so that they understand where you draw the line. Some companies ask their employees to sign the policy. A policy helps you be consistent across all your workers, and a clear procedure for any instances when the policy has been breached also means that your staff are aware of the consequences.

Be honest

If you are planning to monitor internet use, say so. If you are planning a random monitoring at some point, give a warning. If you are restricting access to certain sites or certain tasks, say why. Most people will understand that you need to protect your business from harm – either through employee search actions or by preventing viruses or other malware being introduced to your systems. If you’re honest and clear about your motives and intentions, you can usually bring your employees with you.

To find out more about how our IT support services can help to keep your business healthy, call Wise & Co today.


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