Technology Tidbit – When Personal Lives Enter the Workspace

Laptops, desktops, smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google…our lives and workplaces are inundated, every day, with endless possibilities for knowledge, entertainment, interaction and efficiency made possible through technology. Since we opened in 1998, Erlach Computer Consulting has had the privilege of working with hundreds of companies and organizations of all sizes, from one or two person “mom and pop” shops to international companies with hundreds of employees. And, while all of these companies face different challenges and have individualized technology needs, they all share one consistent element - the role of technology in the workplace continues to significantly expand, creating increasing opportunities for efficiency and effectiveness, while presenting an equally increasing number of challenges and concerns.

Technology in all its rapidly evolving  forms can help good businesses become great, it can also create many legal and operational challenges for companies that don’t properly account for it and train their employees accordingly. Companies have long considered and addressed the role of communications in the workplace. Most organizations have policies in place addressing things like personal phone calls at work, interactions between employees and management, and who is allowed to officially speak on the company’s behalf. And, while many of these policies are still relevant and effective in today’s workplace, many businesses today have failed to adequately address the expanding role of technology in the workplace in their communication policies.

Questions all companies should consider:

What kind of access, if any, should employees have to personal social media accounts?

Can work cell phones be used for personal texts and phone calls? If so, does the company have the right to review the communications?

Does the company have the right to access personal data saved on a workplace desktop or laptop?

What saved data does an employee have rights to when leaving the company (contacts, documents, photos, etc.)?

There are dozens more questions. You may know the answers, but do your employees?

We recommend that all of our clients, regardless of their size and number of employees, have a standard technology policy to be read and signed by all employees that addresses standard technology issues. This policy should also be regularly reviewed and updated to match constant advancements in technology. And, while this may seem like a daunting task, Erlach is here to help our clients develop and implement an effective policy in a timely manner. In fact, we provide a standard “Electronic Systems Acceptable Use Policy” that can be customized to meet individualized workplace cultures and needs. This simple one page document outlines policies for privacy, social media use, internet use, mobile devices, voicemail, and more.

 

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Download Erlach's “SAMPLE Electronic Systems Acceptable Use Policy.”

We strongly encourage you to review or establish your company’s technology policy and to regularly consult with Erlach and your HR resources to ensure you’re adequately addressing all of your workplace technology needs. By effectively managing technology use, you can ensure maximum productivity while minimizing what can be costly, time-consuming challenges.


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