Personal Email At Work

Written by Gregg Ruais
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Most corporate managers have no problem with the limited use of company email accounts for private purposes. If your boss discovers that you sent an email to your wife that reads, "I'll be working late tonight. Please set a plate aside," there will probably be no ramifications, as it's likely he has sent similar emails in the past. Just as the occasional phone call to the doctor or family member is considered acceptable, an email now and then is perceived as harmless.

However, when someone starts making and receiving multiple phone calls on a daily basis, his coworkers become annoyed and his work begins to suffer. After all, if he spends an hour on the phone each day, he can only complete seven hours worth of work. Some people use company time to organize their lives and socialize over the phone. When these people get fired, almost everyone agrees they had it coming.

The Problem with Email

The abuse of company email accounts is a more serious and common problem. It's difficult to spend an hour on the phone without a supervisor or coworker noticing. With email, however, you cannot discern whether or not someone is actually working unless you stand over his shoulder and watch the computer monitor. Some people literally sit at their computers all day and send personal emails right under their bosses noses. The main problem is that they look like they are working. Does any manager have the time to read all his employees' emails?

People send all kinds of emails from work. They forward jokes to friends and family, make plans for the weekends, and even send URLs they've come across while surfing the Web. Oftentimes, the links they send contain objectionable content. Studies conducted by software companies show that the majority of emails sent from work accounts are personal rather than professional.

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