Learning how to use your new office-issued laptop or cell phone is no longer
enough to keep you current in today's workplace. Today, we must understand when to use these devices.
If you've ever surfed the web at work or
sent a personal e-mail or text from an office computer or mobile phone-and who
hasn't?-you need to take the time to understand your office's policy of acceptable technology use.
Did you know that a quarter of employers have fired
workers for misusing e-mail and nearly one third have fired employees for
misusing the Internet? That statistic comes from the 2007
Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey from American
Management Association (AMA) and The ePolicy Institute. It's worth a read to
see what other forms of technology use have landed employees in hot water.
Most corporate work environments have technology
use policies in place. Consult with your human resources team or manager to be
sure you're up-to-date. If your firm is small, and doesn't have protocols in
place, encourage management to formalize guidelines.
Keep in mind that the landscape of what
is acceptable and legal often shifts. The Supreme Court will soon
decide if a California
police department violated an employee's privacy when it inspected personal
text messages he sent using a work-issued pager. Avid
texters, and companies that issue handheld devices, will want to be
well-informed about how the decision affects their workplace.
Workplaces need to minimize litigation,
security and other risks. They also need to manage productivity. So scrutiny of employees' use of office technology is going to be an ever-present
part of the modern workplace. Arm yourself with information to stay on track.
That way, the next time you pick up your office-issued cell or get on the
Internet, you can be confident that you're adhering to best practices in your
Does your workplace have a clear cut
policy on acceptable technology usage that you can share? What standards are
most helpful in managing your day-to-day technology use? Share your thoughts
here and on the Beyond Folders Community's Facebook
and Twitter pages.
by Bradley Eggers
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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates
passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization. Believing in "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.