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Why an internet-policy is important for IT companies

Why an internet-policy is important for IT companies

People with explicit knowledge of computers and internet are a blessing, but people with poor social morals can be a curse. Recently, a young man was arrested for watching child porn at workplace. He was a brilliant worker, good time manager, reliable, punctual and supposedly a good human being as well. But obviously, something went wrong somewhere.

Well, all said and done, you need to have a good Internet policy to prevent such things from taking place at your workplace. If any of your employees are violating Internet rules, your company is in danger. With everything available online these days from gambling sites to X-rated ones it is imperative to have an Internet policy that would keep a tab on things.

Advantages of incorporating an Internet policy

  • Better productivity at workplace
    What is the purpose of any business? To make money, right? So how will your business bring profit when the employees are unproductive? The Internet can be a great boon or a time drain, depending on how people use it. When you have a proper Internet policy at workplace, you can ensure better productivity at workplace.
  • Save your company from lawsuits

    Lawsuits are a big headache and when they are unlawful, the headache turns into a migraine. If you have a clear Internet policy, you don’t have to worry about unlawful conduct and unlawful lawsuits.

  • Prevent technology resource drain
    Honestly, the usage of Internet for private email, chatting and downloading purposes drains technology and data usage, and eventually would burden your bandwidth so much that even people working honestly in the office will not be able to work. Once the data limit is exceeded, you will have to endure unwarranted business costs and need more space for data storage. If you have an Internet policy you can definitely prevent it, especially when you are in the IT field.
  • Internet policy helps in hiring practices as well
    It is possible to screen prospective employees by assessing their Internet behavior and attitudes. Recruiters can pose questions that bring to light these tendencies. If there are negatives attitudes and indifferent behavior, you will be able to grasp that immediately and turn them down for key management related positions. You can also conduct an Internet addiction test to check their degree of usage. Being in the IT department, it is important to know whether there is overuse of the Internet.

How should an Internet policy look like

The Internet policy should be made out in such a manner that, it is clear to everyone in the company. It must be clearly spelled out to the new hires, so they will be in the loop from the beginning.

Here are some tips on how to chart a favorable Internet policy for your company

  • The prohibited uses of the Internet must be clear, and let them know of the rules of online behavior
  • Be clear on the penalties they would have to face if they are caught with their hand in the cookie jar
  • Alert them that their Internet activity will be monitored regularly and when any inappropriate usage comes to light, the disciplinary actions that may be taken against them.
  • The Internet policy must be updated from time to time

Prevent additional staff recruiting, increased staff turnover and retraining expense

When you have a strong Internet policy in place, you can check the usage of Internet during working hours. A staggering number of people use Internet to make online purchases, apart from personal surfing and chatting. This can lead to additional staff recruiting to increase productivity, which further leads to retraining expense as well. On the other hand, you need to understand that sometimes, an employee need to check his personal mails, pay bills online and keep in touch with his family especially when he puts in long hours at work. It would be short sightedness on your part if you belittle a hard worker, because working in the IT gives them guaranteed long hours of work.

The debate on whether it is alright to monitor or not to monitor

Would an employee like an employer monitoring his email and Internet access? While a sizeable percentage of them will not agree, a good percentage of them, about 57% of the employees, do not actually mind employer monitoring. Employees often have this mistaken belief that sending personal emails during working hours is no big deal and they should be allowed to do. But unfortunately for them, the courts have not found this as a violation of privacy and employers can monitor and review employee activity while at work place.

Conclusion

The usage of Internet may have prompted a sports fan to peek into the ESPN website to check the scores, or a fashion freak to check the trends for the week. Though they may see it as a short break from the tedious hours they put in, most employees are united in their opinion that they tend to stray longer than they intended and this decreased their productivity. About 84% of the employees who participated in a survey admitted that they send personal emails during working hours, and about 32% of them admit sending more than 5 messages during working hours.

Having such an Internet Policy shows that you are making good use of the company’s technology resources. Hence, it is very, very important.

Interesting links about the topic:

Why Your Company Needs An Internet Use Policy
Everything You Need to Know About Internet & Computer Usage Policies

Sample internet usage policy

Pictures: Flickr.com/ Sven/ Defence/ Yuri/ jacobfg/ Gerard


The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

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