There’s tension building between employers and their staffs on their career paths over use of the Internet at work for personal and business uses.
Younger staffers, who are usually more tech-savvy than their bosses, are pushing for more access to social networking and others sites, both for work purposes and for when they’d like to take a break from their jobs.
Some find that the sites they are expected to use for researching and communicating for work are blocked; and they are unable to take a break to read a news story on line or check their personal e-mail or social network accounts.
Meanwhile, employers want the advantage of Internet technology, but are concerned about security for confidential competitive information, time being wasted and legal exposure. The result is that many lean toward blocking all or most access.
“Wide-open Internet access is the risky approach,” says Chris King, Palo Alto Network. But to close off all access is “increasingly untenable for cultural and business reasons.”
The wise careerist makes sure he understands his employer’s policy before blogging, tweeting, sending personal e-mails, to say nothing of watching sports and downloading movies. (Nearly half of U.S. employers have policies against visiting personal networking or video sharing sites during work hours.) If there’s not a policy in place, it’s smart to ask for guidance.
The American Management Association reports:
76% of the companies surveyed monitor Internet usage;
55% store and review e-mail;
51% use video surveillance;
50% store and review computer usuage;
22% record telephone calls.
Career Advice For Electronics
The Associated Press offers these “Tips for web, cell phone use at work”:
• Remember that anything you do on a company-issued computer or cell phone–in or out of the office–could be tracked by a boss, the courts or a regulator. Many employers monitor web site use, keystrokes, instant messages and e-mail. Some even archive text messages on work cell phones.
• Avoid mentioning your company, boss or co-workers in outline postings unless you have permission to do so.
• Avoid using any device to take or transmit any company-related photos, videos or other recordings without permission from management. This includes any images of company buildings or logos and embarrassing or unprofessional photos of co-workers or clients.
• Know your company’s policy on social networking, video web sites, e-mail and other tech-related activities.
• Regularly delete personal e-mail from your work account.
• Remember when searching for a job that many employers check social networking sites, blogs and other online activity.
A final piece of common sense career advice: Never post anything on a company-owned electronic device that you wouldn’t want to appear on the bulletin boards where you work.
I wish you career success!
Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work