Three quarters of employers responding to a new AmericanAssociation survey said they monitor how employees spend their time online at work. Specifically:
- 36 percent track content viewed, keystrokes taken and time employees spend at the keyboard.
- 65 percent use software that blocks certain predetermined Web sites.
- 50 percent retain a copy of all e-mail messages and review those messages.
- 25 percent have fired at least one employee who misused the Internet at work.
Advice: If you don't already have one, adopt an Internet usage and e-mail policy. Make sure it explains that the organization, not the employee, owns the computer, network and other systems and that it can monitor employees' usage at any time.
Erase any expectation of privacy by requiring employees to sign an acknowledgment form that gives you the OK to review any electronic communications, including instant messaging.
Enforce your policy consistently. Disciplining one employee for accessing porn sites but letting another employee slide will open the organization to a discrimination suit.