The benefits of an IT policy
As we nudge ever closer to Christmas, thoughts of the impending festivities become ever present in the minds of employees who become focused on finding that perfect gift for friends and family members. The rise of online shopping cannot be ignored and with this in mind, now might be a good time to consider how to manage employees who misuse your internal computer and Internet systems, not least those who seek to undertake their Christmas shopping during the working day.
For most workplaces using computers is a part of everyday business and most employees have their own individual workstation with their own company provided computer equipment. It is not uncommon for employers to report that their employees use their company provided computer for personal use with things like social media, checking personal emails and ordering weekly shops being popular complaints. Whilst some employers may permit their employees to undertake limited personal activities on work based computers because of the scope for abuse, it is always good practice to have a written IT policy in place so that employees can understand and appreciate the Company’s position in relation to such.
By having an IT policy which deals with computer usage in place this will help to provide employees with direction. A policy may, for example, provide specific guidance and rules relating to what is allowed during working hours and outside of working hours (i.e. lunch breaks, before work and after work). A policy will also help employees to understand the potential implications of misuse and how such behaviour is viewed.
In addition to setting out the Company’s expectations regarding computer usage, because of the increase in staff working from their own personal devices, it is also advisable to include a section in any policy which specifically deals with an employee’s obligation to ensure that such equipment does not pose a threat to the company equipment. Details about virus software, security settings and network access can all be referred to in an IT policy.
If you don’t have a IT policy in place, or a mention of computer use in your staff handbook, and would like to include such provision in your documentation please do not hesitate to contact us.