E-mail misuse not on: IT managers

Quantifying ‘reasonable personal use' of office e-mail was easy for local IT managers who spoke to Computerworld this week. They believe it should be used by employees strictly for business purposes.

Group IS and technology manager at FH Faulding, Teri Whiting, admitted organisations do have to allow for the "human element".

"We state clearly that e-mail is for business purposes only, but there is always the human element in these matters and this is where organisations have to be flexible," Whiting said.

"Our policy outlines what is acceptable use of e-mail and is provided to staff as part of the induction process."

"This policy is actually updated regularly and distributed to employees as a helpful reminder."

CSL's IS manager, Stephen Petrenko, said the company's e-mail policy was developed because there was no legislation.

"I think legislation is necessary when you consider that our workplace policy was developed because of lack of legislation," he said. "Our guidelines cover all electronic communications and are given to staff as part of their employee start-up pack.

"It also includes a training component which takes them through the practical implications of the policy and employee responsibility in relation to e-mails and general Internet use. Staff are aware of monitoring but we do not detail the methods used."

ANI Corporation (Steelmark) network support officer Scott Masters believes legislation is not necessary if a workplace policy is enforced and Internet traffic is limited. Masters said Steelmark did undertake message monitoring admitting problems in the past with staff discussing office politics via e-mail and spending too much time Web browsing.

"Our staff sign a declaration to ensure they understand the guidelines for Internet use and are willing to comply with the content of the policy," he said.

Kerryn Hand of Amcor Printing Group, said the company has never had a problem with workplace gossip over the e-mail system but has had to remind staff about forwarding inappropriate material to other staff.

She said Amcor regularly updates its e-mail policy and recently sent a memo to staff about what is acceptable material to forward on to others.

"Staff are fully aware of e-mail procedures, so there is no question of not knowing what is acceptable," she said.

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