Why do most companies say you can’t use their computers, internet connections, etc. for anything other than business purposes when they know people probably check out Ebay from time to time or use their company email account to visit a blog site on occasion? Is this just zero tolerance to avoid a slippery slope or is there some other “evil” HR reason behind this?
I’m usually the first to point out evil HR practices, but I can’t say that there is a single evil thing about limiting internet access at work. (Okay, I can. If your company blocks out brilliant sites, such as evilhrlady.blogspot.com then we have problems. Remember, people, this is a work related site and you should read it every day! If I haven’t published new content, re-read old content.)
Yes, companies know that people check e-bay, their home e-mail, read the NY Times and blogs and participate in internet forums. Some of this is harmless, some is not.
When you are working, you are being paid to perform work for the company. If you are busy selling on e-bay or arguing some point on a forum, you are not working. Companies should be alarmed that their employees are not working. If you are Christmas shopping, you are not working.
Now, all the activities that I’ve mentioned are fairly wholesome. There are certainly internet activities that are not wholesome. Since we all know what those are, I shan’t mention them. Just know that if you so much as think about looking at an unwholesome site I will make sure you are fired without so much as two weeks pay. Don’t do it. Don’t risk it.
When at work, you should be working. If your company allows you to surf the web at lunch, go ahead, but realize that your IT department can track every site you visit. I’ve heard that the IT department can also see what passwords you are typing in, so a bad IT person can then access your bank account. I have no idea if it is true, but it’s something to think about.
If you are violating your company policy (even if everyone else is doing it), you take on risks. Be in compliance. Make sure your manager approves of what you are doing and most of all, work while you are at work.