Computers and the internet have changed the way we work and communicate. One of the results is an increase in policies that outline general principles and philosophies, clarifies boundaries of acceptable practices for the employee and encourages responsible use. When creating an internet use policy, address the following issues:
- Whether employees are allowed to browse the web for personal use as well as business purposes
- When employees can use the web for personal use (lunch hours, after-hours, etc.)
- If and how the organization monitors web use and what level of privacy employees can expect
- Web activity that is not allowed. Spell out examples of unacceptable behavior, but be sure to say the list is not inclusive and that employees are expected to use good judgment. In many workplaces unacceptable behaviour includes downloading offensive content, threatening or violent behaviour, illegal activities, commercial solicitations (non-business related)
Appropriate images for screen savers and wallpaper backgrounds should also be addressed.
Provide two copies of the policy to employees – one for them to keep and another for them to sign and return to you. Legislation is developing quickly in this area so it is a good idea to stay informed on changes and comments by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.