Internet and emails are excellent tools for businesses and many businesses nowadays cannot run without them. Using the internet and emails we place orders, contact is made with customers and other employees within the business, the business is promoted and so much more. The benefits of using emails and the internet in the workplace really are endless… but there is also an endless list of potential challenges when it comes to emails and internet access for your employees.
The main challenge of the internet for business owners is if employees waste time surfing the internet and popping onto social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, sending personal emails from their work accounts, the email system being clogged up with large attachments and also more serious issues like opening emails that contain viruses or downloading files from the internet that may contain viruses. There are also concerns about employees sending confidential or sensitive information outside your business without encryption.
As we stated earlier, many businesses can no longer function without the use of emails and the internet, but this does mean that you need to be clear on what the business considers to be acceptable use. By having a policy that explains the company’s stance, when it comes to internet and emails, will allow employees to be clear where the parameters are. The Acceptable Use Policy, also known as an AUP, needs to outline the responsibility of the employee in relation to emails and the internet, including if you will allow employees to use the internet and emails for their own personal use.
It is important that you also include in your Acceptable Use Policy under what circumstances employees can use the email and internet for their own personal needs and how monitoring will take place to ensure that personal use of emails and the internet are not being taken advantage of.
If you have an employee who breaches the acceptable use policy, such as accessing or downloading offensive material, this may result in disciplinary action or even dismissal, dependant on the level of breach in accordance with the policy. It is also important to be clear about what the business considers to be acceptable with comments on social media sites – for example if an employee bad mouths the business on their personal Facebook account but it is clear on their Facebook page that they are employed by you then this could be deemed as inappropriate and potentially bringing the disrepute – but it will be hard to manage this situation if you have not been clear in a policy.
As a business owner it is essential that you and your employees know a customer can demand copies of any email containing personal data on them, even if the details are only sent internally. This is why it is important that all emails sent between employees are always completed in a professional manner.
If you have concerns about the usage of email or internet for personal needs in your workplace, then please contact aspire cambridge on 01223 855441; we would be happy to help you introduce an Acceptable Use Policy to ensure that all your employees know what they can and can’t do on the internet or through your company emails.