JUNE 18, 2008

Be a good employee, use your own things
       That joke your friend sent, the cute pic of your nephew, maybe a recipe you think mom will like. There’s nothing wrong with all these things but the not-so-shocking statistic is 60 per cent of Canadians use the office printer for personal reasons.
       This brings up the debate about the sorts of things employees feel they can do while on the job. And really, when you think about it, there’s a lot that is technically against most company policies.
       If the Internet is only for work-related use, then checking tomorrow’s weather is even wrong (unless you work for Environment Canada or something). But pay no attention to that fast-approaching storm if you can’t check the severe weather watches. Maybe that example is a little extreme, but technically if weather isn’t part of your job, you shouldn’t be looking up the forecast.
       The Post-it notes you have on your desk that you used to jot down a message (with an office pen) from a friend who called you on your office line is three violations in one shot. Should you really be using office supplies and the company phone to do personal business?
       Again, most people aren’t going to be that sticky about things, but if you ever do get in trouble for it, you need to know you were breaking the rules.
       And yes, it seems juvenile (or downright untrusting) to watch employees like that. I think the fact that we are given these facts and figures further brings down employee morale. If it helps boost productivity to take a bit of a break by making a personal call or playing a game of solitaire to clear your mind, then why not do it? In the end it could be saving the company money if it motivates you to work better.



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