Employers are getting to grips with the potential problems arising from the use of electronic communications in the workplace, and are taking steps to minimise the risks.
A survey, by Personnel Today’s sister publication IRS Employment Review, of 63 organisations – employing more than 105,000 staff in total – shows that most have formal written policies dealing with the use of electronic communications in the workplace.
Virtually all office-based employees were found to have access to internet and e-mail, and almost all of the responding organisations have formal written policies in place to govern their use. Increasingly, these policies are also being extended to the use of mobile phones and imaging technology, such as camera phones.
All written policies were found to forbid the downloading and distribution of pornographic and derogatory images from the web, and most restrict internet gambling and shopping. A significant proportion also restrict the personal use of the internet, e-mail and mobile phones to lunchtime and other breaks.
An increasing number of respondents are also actively encouraging good practice in modern business communications. Two-thirds said they either encouraged staff to get training on e-mail use or insisted that they do so. Most organisations prefer the use of formal language in e-mails and almost all expect staff to report the receipt of inappropriate e-mails.