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Before you start surfing the web from your office or send another email to your best friend, consider this: your employer is probably monitoring how you use their Internet connection. That includes keeping track of the websites you visit and possibly reading your email.
Why? Many employers are worried about productivity (more surfing, less work) and inappropriate behavior (visiting adult sites). And most do not consider your online activities in the workplace as private. According to a recent survey, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and West Group, most human resource professionals are concerned about how employees use the Internet. Most respondents think it’s an employer’s right to know how much time employees spend online, which sites they visit and how they use the company email system.
While the majority (seven of ten respondents) considers an employee’s medical information confidential, an employee’s use of company equipment (including the telephone) is not. Among the HR professionals surveyed, 37 percent view phone calls as confidential and 24 percent consider email personal. Only 15 percent regard Internet use as private.
If you’re wondering about what’s considered confidential at your office, just ask. Most employers are not insensitive to employee concerns about workplace privacy. To avoid potential misunderstandings, 72 percent of survey respondents say their company has a written policy concerning Internet and email monitoring.