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Thread: Email monitoring in the workplace

  1. #21
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    Re: Email monitoring in the workplace

    Originally posted by hot_ice
    Now that this is all clear, I will point out my opinion. I believe that it is simply wrong! Monitoring employee's emails will not benefit anyone in the long run. Firstly, they are trying to see if workers are 'wasting time' using email for non-work related purposes. Isn't monitoring of these emails 'wasting time' too?? Who is going to monitor the emails? The boss? Surely he has enough on his plate.
    In a sense, it could be both yes and no. If you are losing lots of productivity from five or six employees, then it may actually be worthwhile to pay someone to spend time monitoring emails. Keep also in mind that most of the monitoring could be done from shellscripts or something similar depending on the mail server. I suppose, as with every situation, that it really does depend on what level of monitoring is going on. If you're picking up every email that contains the word 'sex', then sure, I'm for it, because that sort of thing isn't completely normal, but if you're paying someone or using some software to monitor ALL email, then sure, it's the company's dime, they should be allowed to be thrifty. After all, you work to earn money and be productive, not to cavort or chat.


    Secondly, it makes workplace environment feel threatening to the employee. If you know that the company you are working for is monitoring your email, everytime you send one you will be thinking about this and wondering 'should I send this'? It creates a burdon on the employee and reduces job satisfaction, thus, affecting proctuctivity in a negative way.
    Lame argument. Someone who is paid to do a job should do the job IMO. They shouldn't be slouching off and doing nothing but emailing people.


    If I were a manager/boss at a company, I would simply expect my employees to do their job. If the job gets done, what does it matter if they sent 10 personal emails during the day. What if John got the job done and sent 10 personal emails. Sally isn't performing well, but she doesn't send email. What will the purpose of email scanning echieve in this situation?? The more personal emails you send, the better the job you do will be??
    By design, email monitoring isn't for people who send 10 personal emails per day, it's for people who send 30-40 personal emails per day, and do nothing other than email for a few hours. It's designed to catch people who *are* losing productivity and *aren't* doing their work because they're spending too much time emailing.

    All in all, it's not up to you to decide. You're allowed to think it's wrong, but it's not your business, it's the person who runs/owns the company's business. If they want to 'waste money' in this fashion because they believe it will increase productivity, all the power to them. It is, after all, their organization to run.
    Chris Shepherd
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  2. #22
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    As previously stated, the employee should understand that they are using company-owned equipment for their personal use, so it should be okay for the company to monitor email. Would I want someone sniffing through my email? No, but I understand that by using company-owned equipment then I'm submitting myself for that kind of monitoring. However, I'm the systems administrator where I work and while I could monitor every little piece of email that comes over our network, I don't. I have no time to read how so-and-so's date was this weekend, what Johnny is doing tonight, etc, etc.

    My point is that while people may disagree with the practice, it should be allowed since the company owns the equipment. I think it was said best earlier when it was stated that while at work, one should act as if the email will be monitored.
    - Maverick
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  3. #23
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    It is not just monitoring staff wasting time.

    I have heard that some comapnies quarantine specific attachments in emails for two reasons. Some attachments can contain trojans/viruses and be ignorantly opened by an employee. The second reason is to decrease the size of peoples mail files, hence, the company does not need to purchase more mail servers to store all of these attachments.

    When you think about all of the **** that is thrown around the Internet these days, and when you think how much of an employees emails are actually "business related", it is not a bad thing to implement.
    SoggyBottom.

    [glowpurple]There were so many fewer questions when the stars where still just the holes to heaven - JJ[/glowpurple] [gloworange]I sure could use a vacation from this bull$hit, three ringed circus side show of freaks. - Tool. [/gloworange]
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  4. #24
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    Originally posted by SoggyBottom
    It is not just monitoring staff wasting time.

    I have heard that some comapnies quarantine specific attachments in emails for two reasons. Some attachments can contain trojans/viruses and be ignorantly opened by an employee. The second reason is to decrease the size of peoples mail files, hence, the company does not need to purchase more mail servers to store all of these attachments.

    When you think about all of the **** that is thrown around the Internet these days, and when you think how much of an employees emails are actually "business related", it is not a bad thing to implement.
    I've implemented a setup whereby any emails containing attachments that have a .VBS, .COM, .SCR, .PIF, .BAT, and .EXE extension are immediately bounced with a message saying we're not accepting those attachment types. I still feel like I'm leaving the door wide open, because I've allowed .DOC and .XLS, but unfortunately management dictated both word and excel docs as being out of bounds.
    Chris Shepherd
    The Nelson-Shepherd cutoff: The point at which you realise someone is an idiot while trying to help them.
    \"Well as far as the spelling, I speak fluently both your native languages. Do you even can try spell mine ?\" -- Failed Insult
    Is your whole family retarded, or did they just catch it from you?
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  5. #25
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    but what about zipped files?
    or pgp encrypted files?

    either of those (the zip especially) can allow viri & trojans into the network
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  6. #26
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    Originally posted by jcdux
    but what about zipped files?
    or pgp encrypted files?

    either of those (the zip especially) can allow viri & trojans into the network
    On our network. Attachments are blocked, so no .zip files can come through. As well plain text PGP emails are allowed for authentication. However PGP container files are disallowed by company policy. Most of the companies we outsource to or contract with have the same policies in effect.
    The COOKIE TUX lives!!!!
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  7. #27
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    There's a couple of key points that need to be made when talking about communications monitoring at the workplace:

    - monitoring of phone calls can be done to make sure customers get the service they need. You don't want your customers to get yelled at by some cranky employee

    - in most companies, they make you sign papers that allow the employer to monitor your use of their facilities. It's their money after all. At my current employer, I have to indicate whether each call I make is for business or personal. It's a pain, but it might remove the need to monitor as much. And some people just abuse the system. In my previous company, one guy in the department was running up phone bills as high as all 24 other people in the department because he was making an enormous amount of personal calls (bills of around $700 a month).

    - you can't compare your work email to your private mail at home. In my company, all mail, unless it's marked as personal and sent to a special address gets opened. It's treated as official correspondance. Once, my bank card arrived on the official address ... it got to me after two months or so, having come down the official ladder.

    I think that as long as you use your company's facilities, they have the right to monitor it. If I want to do anything private, I'll do it from home. Ok, I make the occasional private phone call, as you need to do some stuff during office hours, but otherwise, I know where to stop.

    Whatever you do, whether it's phone calls, emails, web surfing (like I'm doing now reading AO ), it's in the company time, using their equipment. I don't think companies should go overboard, because allowing some freedom is necessary for a good working environment, but they also need to be able to catch the bad apples.

    That's what it all comes down to. A few bad apples make trouble for the rest of us and we have to bear the consequences.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents.

    BrainStop
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  8. #28
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    Well, thanks for all your input. I did my speech at uni on this topic - I had to argue against email monitoring and here is my part:

    Email Monitoring Arguments Against:

    First of all, Im going to talk to you about privacy. Even though employees work for their company and use their resources, this doesnt mean that their privacy shouldnt be respected. Email is a means of communication and should be treated in similar fashion to a phone or a face-to-face conversation. Just because a person is inside an office building, doesnt mean that all personal communication to the outside world should be blocked off or monitored. Companies need to respect their employees privacy and make them feel comfortable.

    Some employees may not be affected by the monitoring of their email; however, others who rely on email very heavily may be greatly impacted. If email monitoring is introduced, these employees may feel uncomfortable in their working environment. Having a comfortable and enjoyable work environment is a great way to ensure productivity is high. Creating an environment where staffs have strict rules to follow is surely reducing the status of an enjoyable working environment.

    Wasting time is a great argument for implementing email monitoring in the workplace. This, however, if very questionable, as a simple text email could be written in less then 30 seconds. Employees cannot be expected to work non-stop from 9 to 5 with only a 30 minute lunch break in between. People are not machines. They need to have small breaks every now and then, even if it is a simple stretching exercise, which is strongly recommended when working with computers for long hours. What if one person has a smoke break for five minutes, while another, non-smoker, writes an email that takes 30 seconds? How can we compare this? By introducing email monitoring, are we saying its wasting time to send a 30 second email, but its alright to have a smoke break that takes 5 minutes? The time it takes to send an email is very little compared to the entire working day. To add to this, monitoring all employees email would be an even greater waste of time. If the company has a large number of employees, people might have to be hired for the monitoring of email, which just produces unnecessary expenses.

    Im sure employees would be more satisfied with their job if they felt respected and trusted by the company. If the company starts introducing all these new monitoring policies, employees start feeling pressured when doing their work, as their every move is being watched. This reduces job satisfaction, as employees are left without much freedom. A company should not feel that they need to monitor their staff in everything that they do. I understand that companies must evaluate each employee and determine if they are a valuable asset to them, but surely this can be done by judging their work and not by preventing personal communication via email.

    Greg
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  9. #29
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    EMail monitoring in the workplace is quite simple. Allow me to break it down:

    - The network is owned by the organization one works for. It's their stuff, they can do what they want with it. It's perfectly legal....and ethics don't come in to play. It's business, not personal. Just the way it should be.
    - When you're at work, you're selling your time to the company you work for. Therefore, for lack of a better term (trust me), they "own" you for that given period of time.
    - 99% of all hardcore email monitoring is done at random...the rest is filters and such to weed out known viruses, etc. If a company really has someone sitting there reading all of the emails, then that's their own fault for being un-intelligent and wasting money.
    - Security. Security is a huge reason this is done. It comes in many different forms...anywhere from filtering viruses and junk mail, to monitoring one person's email, as you may suspect them of corporate espionage. (yes, this happens more than you may think).

    I'm a net admin...and I do NOT read people's email. There are waaaaay too many other things that I have to keep an eye on. If an executive or manager wants something/someone watched over, it's my professional duty/responsibility to do as asked.

    All in all: I have no problem w/ email monitoring. Don't do your personal things at work. You're there to do a job, not to goof around.
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  10. #30
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    Don't type anything into your computer at work that you don't want somebody to see, it's as simple as that.

    That said, you don't need to be uneasy about it, because chances are nobody cares enough to watch your every step.

    People who send out 10 personal e-mails a day are not an issue, hell people who send out 100 personal e-mails a day are not an issue. If they're not doing their job it's their supervisor's problem, not mine. I let file sharing go as long as it's not hogging resources, an mp3 or two a week is fine, 20 a day is not. Pornography isn't something I watch for as long as it's legal, if they're looking at child porn or something I will report this to their supervisor. What I look for is e-mail that is a security risk, either external(like forwarding a virus) or internal(like sending out company information).
    -Shkuey
    Living life one line of error free code at a time.
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