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Internet abuse at Work

When the world of communication got shrunk by the internet, it saw a sudden opening to a mass body of knowledge. But the excessive dependence on internet has brought with it many unwanted usages of the same. Misuse of internet became a grave threat to the business houses over the recent years when the overuse of it for unofficial purpose hit the productivity adversely.

Studies done a few years back revealed that the disciplinary action taken on account of email and internet abuse exceeded those taken on dishonesty, violence and safety breaches put together. The excessive use of the internet and emails for personal purposes, and accessing and sending pornographic materials are two major problems faced by the business entities. Social networking sites like have become a major distraction to the employees. Online trading in the security market is a major source of worry to the employers. With both operating during similar hours the time being spent on productive purposes have come down, leading to the inability to complete the task within the stipulated deadlines. Online shopping, holiday planning and other personal activities eat up a huge portion of the productive working hours leading to the loss of business. With the overindulgence of the employees on the internet and personal emails, the brunt of the hit had to be taken by the business houses. The cost to the company on account of the salaries for unproductive hours, loss of business, and decrease in productivity are high. Therefore steps to restrict the access to those sites that does not contribute to the normal work must be made.

Accessing pornographic sites or sending inappropriate materials pose a grave threat to the work place serenity. Companies must take measure to look into the outgoing mails as all the major correspondence from the business are made through emails. Confidential information in the hands of a competitor on account of the action of an employee can adversely affect the goodwill of the company. Studies revealed that five-sixth of the outgoing mails are not scrutinised for the inappropriate content; then the chances for detection of the misuse is less.

The overuse of internet during the working hours has forced the company to ban the access to many of the websites during the official hours. Many software mechanisms have been installed to filter the data that moves into and out of the individual computer. Many business houses have included the misuse of email and the internet under the definition of misconduct in the general ethics to be followed by the employees. The British newspaper “Guardian” in its report in 2007 revealed that disciplinary action, including dismissal of some employees, was taken over 1700 public employees in UK over the past three years for the misuse of the internet. Though the misuse of the internet has been brought down to a large extent it still looms as a major threat to the workplace.

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