Originally Posted On: https://www.workexaminer.com/blog/the-efficient-internet-usage-policy.html
Each company has a wide range of policies and regulations focused on human resources working there. Many of these regulations can be easily forgotten or not even examined thoroughly. There is a number of reasons why such documents are essential, and one of them is boosting the productivity of each employee and helping them achieve more.
This article is created to study Internet Usage Policy and get a better understanding of it. This policy is an official document, which imposes restrictions on Internet access available at the workplace. It contains rules obligatory for all the workers of a specific company. One of the latest surveys shows that almost half of employees questioned have a very vague idea of what this document is about and what their duties regarding Internet usage are.
Each employer’s responsibility is to make his or her policies and expectations from an employee as transparent and justified as possible. Legal documents are often viewed as limiting, prohibitive and excessive. However, there are plenty of good reasons for implementing the Internet Usage Policy. And it is possible to eliminate this negative attitude by simply explaining why the policy is beneficial for both employer and employee.Is an Internet Usage Policy Really Required?
First and foremost, every employer needs to understand that any policy created in order to restrict the workers because of not trusting them cannot be sugarcoated. No matter how hard you will try to hide the fact that a specific regulation exists to simply control the employees, they will understand it. Luckily, the Internet Usage policy has one main purpose. Its key intention is to enhance every worker’s performance, resulting in a variety of benefits for both parties.
By implementing policies, people in charge express their expectations from staff. With an Internet Usage Policy, an employee receives valuable information about the rules of using equipment provided by the company. With such transparency, you can build trust with the personnel by expressing exactly what you want from them.
In this policy, you should also state if some websites are blocked at a workplace in order to maximize productivity (such as social media and entertainment websites). In case some of employee monitoring apps or plugins are used, this is also worth mentioning. This way your workers will know that you are aware of the websites they visit, and there will be no miscommunications and misunderstandings.
Another point worth including in the policy is the problem of communication between employees. Cases of harassment and misconduct at a working place are not rare. By not allowing your workers to use the Internet as a way of harassing other employees, stealing their personal and business information and so on, you create a healthy working atmosphere.
These are the ways of protecting your staff. By letting them know that this is the main intention of the policy, you will ensure that such a document will be accepted much more sympathetically.
In addition, the policy protects the company as well. In the event of an employee participating in some kind of illegal activities via the company Internet, the document can save the employer from legal responsibility. If the policy clearly states that such activities are banned in the company, the accused will face full liability.How to Create an Effective and Beneficial Internet Usage Policy?
To begin with, it is important to set up a list of fundamental rules for your company specifically. You should be precise and clear about the conduct banned at the working place and while utilizing the property of the company. The list of forbidden actions might include theft of information and intellectual property, harassment and bullying, revealing secret information and so on. You can also ban utilizing social media as means of sharing certain information about the company. After stating all the requirements, you should also make clear that you can monitor each worker’s Internet activity and take action in case they are violated.
An employer and employees have to realize that the said Internet Usage Policy is an effort to protect both parties and maximize productivity, instead of putting unnecessary boundaries on the workers.What Should Be Included in an Internet Usage Policy?
Here is the list of features that could help you design or customize an Internet Usage Policy for your company:1. The policy should be flexible and compromising
There is no need to set extremely strict boundaries. Prohibiting a lot of actions will only create an unhealthy working environment. It is important to remember that the workers are people and there always should be some room for a human factor. The employees are not robots, and there is no need to limit them to using company Internet only for work-related matters. In some cases, they will need to resolve some personal matters without waiting until their shift is over. Trust can be built only without total control.2. The policy should be liberating for staff
As it was mentioned above, the policy should provide protection and create a trustworthy relationship between a worker and employer. By knowing their responsibilities and rights, the employees will be able to focus on their work freely. This will help them in investing time into the outcome of their efforts instead of worrying about the restrictions.3. The policy should reflect company values and purpose
Teambuilding is essential for every successful company. It is important that the labor force could share those values appreciated in the company. By having common ideas with the employees, it is easier to design a respective policy.
For example, if it is generally believed in your company that family is important, you should not restrict your employees from keeping in touch with their family members. Especially if there is a force majeure that requires a worker to contact their family during working hours.4. The policy should take into account every staff member
People are different, which means that every employee can have their own approach to tasks set in front of them. For example, some people can focus on a single task from start to finish. It is important for them to not get distracted in order to complete their work without loss of productivity. For others, it is difficult to sit in front of a computer screen for long periods. They would be much more efficient if they could take at least a five-minute break every so often. In the end, it comes to creating a comfortable and healthy environment for every member of your team. This way you can achieve maximum efficiency without overloading or restricting your employees.The Example of an Internet Usage Policy
This Internet Usage Policy is applicable to each employee of [COMPANY NAME], which requires computer and Internet access for their work. Utilizing the Internet is allowed and supported as long as the purpose of such usage is to meet the goals of the company. Each employee must comply with the rules listed in the policies. Breaching the policies could lead to legal measures taken against the worker. One of these measures is the cessation of employment. Each of the staff members must realize their responsibility in case of damaging the business as a result of such violations. Each employee has to examine the policy thoroughly and confirm that they fully understand and agree with it.
Accepted and supported computer and Internet usage:
- The Internet usage is supported as long as it helps in increasing productivity and it is conducted responsibly;
- All the data shared, posted and received via the company equipment belongs to the company. It should be managed appropriately and accordingly to the legal policies of the company;
- The equipment available for employees at the working place belongs to the company, and its management has all the rights to monitor the Internet activity of all workers. The data transmitted, created and received via the company’s equipment can be monitored as well;
- Electronic mail exchanged via the company Internet should not include any offensive and/or harmful content. Such content involves language and imagery that could be considered as harassment or vulgarity;
- Any website and downloaded content can be monitored by the company. They can be banned and blocked by the company if considered harmful to productivity and business as a whole.
Unacceptable ways of using the Internet at the working place:
- Distributing harassing, violent, discriminating or hateful messages and imagery by the means of company equipment;
- Utilizing the Internet and computers at the working place in order to commit any kind of illegal activity, including piracy of music, movies, and other content;
- Appropriating someone’s login information and using it without permission;
- Illegally downloading, managing or uploading copyrighted content via the company computers;
- Distributing secret company information outside the company;
- Posting derogatory information regarding the company, its owners or other employees;
- Installing inappropriate software that could be harmful to the equipment and network at the working place;
- Distributing spam emails and posts via the company equipment and the Internet;
- Posting information based on your personal beliefs and presenting it as those shared by the whole company.
Each employee should consult with their manager or supervisor in the event of not knowing or being unsure about which actions and information are considered unacceptable.
All the requirements listed above apply to every user of the company equipment and network. Any violation of the set rules can result in legal actions taken by the [COMPANY NAME] against the person violating the policy.The Employee Compliance
I have read and agreed to all the rules stated in the Internet Usage Policy. I will not violate any of the regulations and will not be involved in any inappropriate conduct hereafter.
The employee’s signature
Download this IUP Sample: PDF