Top employers check up on staff Web use

More than 50 of the UK’s leading employers monitor staff Internet use by checking web sites visited and around 40 monitor both e-mail and Internet use, according to a study by IRS.

A further 65 per cent place limits on personal e-mail and Internet use by specifying in written policies that it should be “reasonable” or limited to employees’ own time.

The report is based on a survey of 74 employers with formal written policies on staff e-mail including Argos, Express Newspapers, The Body Shop, Thames Gateway NHS Trust and the Whitbread Beer Company.

IRS employment analyst and research author Kate Godwin said, “Employers are increasingly aware of the need to protect themselves against the risks of staff misuse of new communications technologies. But sending an e-mail to a friend may be quicker and cheaper than a phone call.

“Many employers see advantages in being flexible, while making clear what is not acceptable.”

The report can be found in IRS Employment Trends 703, May 2000, published by Industrial Relations Services, contact 020-7354 6742.

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