Internet codes of conduct in the workplace

An user’s first experience of internet rules and regulations are likely to be in the workplace. At home we are free to use whatever we like: we can spend hours online, and we can browse any of the available websites at our leisure. In the workplace this is often very much more restrictive.

Why would my company restrict my internet access?

Online safety is extremely important, and one of the main reasons for a company to restrict internet access for their employees. Downloading anything on to company servers can open the doors to viruses and other bugs, and this can have the potential to cause delays in working practices, and perhaps even shut the business for a period of time. It can also be costly for the employer to put right.

Using the internet on company time for personal use is frowned upon in almost any business, not just for security concerns. The simple fact is, if you are browsing the web when you should be working, then you are not being a productive member of the team. Furthermore, others are likely to be covering your work while you ‘play’. Employee contracts often include an internet usage clause for this very reason, and you may find that you face disciplinary action for excessive personal internet use.

There are also certain websites that are not suitable for viewing in work, and if one of these webpages leads to something illegal, then the company, not the employee, could be liable to face legal action over it. Your company has a legal requirement to keep all of their employees safe while online, and have strict regulations to follow. Your abuse of the company internet policies and procedures could have serious consequences.

In short, if you have a strict internet usage policy at work, then stick to it, it is not worth losing your job over. If it is something that really cannot wait for a break, or until you get home, then ask permission.

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