Not too long ago, business communication consisted of faxes, telephone calls and memos typed on corporate letterhead. There were years of established tradition that governed the acceptable duties and obligations of an employee during this era.
As electronic communication became more prevalent, business communication advanced significantly and the old tried and true methods were replaced with emails, video conferencing and sharing project documents on cloud networks. The lines that once existed between a person’s business life and personal life have become more and more blurred as we moved towards a new “always connected society.”
While the shift towards electronic communication has greatly increased the speed of information sharing, it has also opened the door to potential abuse. Not only can improper employee use of the internet and electronic communication methods play havoc with productivity, it can also lead to increased liability.
An Internet Acceptable Use Policy governs what behaviors are acceptable in the work environment regarding electronic communications and internet access. It is designed to ensure employee productivity, limit Company liability and establish Company ownership of all data on the business network.
Any written policy should include a statement of purpose describing the intent and purpose of the policy. A good Internet Acceptable Use policy should include the following elements:
Many businesses also expand the policy to include statements governing the proper and acceptable use for Company provided cell phone and tablet computers. The conclusion of the policy should restate the purpose and provide a source for more information if an employee has any questions or concerns.
Employees could be directed to the Human Resources Department, the Operations Department, or for smaller businesses, to their immediate supervisor or owner.
An Internet Acceptable Use Policy allows a business to communicate their expectation to their employees and provides a method for addressing unwanted behaviors.
A properly written Internet Acceptable Use Policy will increase employee productivity by limiting the use of internet resources to business related tasks. It will ensure proper network security and establish Company ownership of electronic data. And finally, it will reduce Company liability by clearly stating what uses of business internet access are acceptable.