Staff are wasting time emailing jokey downloads. What do I do?

Dear Aunty B,

We have all that nasty p?rn blocked in the office, but I still find my staff emailing or standing around snorting at downloads and all sorts of racy stuff during work hours. Is it time to read the riot act or are they just having fun?

B Forrester,




Well, if I had my way there would be no jokes in the office because as you know, I am the business bitch and have no sense of humour whatsoever.


However our dear bloggists keep reiterating that a bit of social banter, some laughs and a sense of fun are vital ingredients in the office, and it doesn’t matter if this is done over footy tipping competitions, Australian Idol gossiping or the latest YouTube clip (my favourites are always mad bosses losing their temper and yelling at cowing, hapless employees).


But look, things can easily slip from fun into sleazy mode. It’s not okay to build a Jessica Alba fan site during work hours or spend time looking for cool clips to download.


If offensive emails and websites start being traded (sales guys, that means you) there is a very simple solution. Tell staff involved to cut it out.


Reinforce the company web policy as well. Like all effective policies, this should be something you openly discuss and hand out rather than lock away in the cupboard.


Ask your computer guys to add more sites to the company’s blacklist of websites. And of course the obvious solution: triple their workload. Obviously they have too much time on their hands.



Chris Blackman, ASVP Group, writes: Shooting errant employees is still a tad outside the terms of the new workplace order – even under WorkChoices. But there are technological solutions available to minimise such behaviours by filtering unacceptable content from employee e-mails and web access. And you don’t have to implement lots of expensive boxes of electronics together with the attendant spiky-haired Gen-Y support person, either. One mob that have all this stuff under control for me is MailGuard. It’s low-cost, highly effective, outsourced, secure and requires no effort on my part. Perfect for SMEs. Problem solved. OK, get back to work, you lot!

Neil Bolton, CEO at Recruitment Systems, writes: FYI, the Department of Agriculture etc has recently implemented a “no storing or sending of any pictures or videos whatsoever”. Zero tolerance. They have sacked, demoted and fined lots of people in recent years and have come up with this as the only (albeit draconian) solution.


The recruitment system that we build and sell is tightly linked to Outlook. Any emails coming in or being sent to someone whose email address is in our CRIS database gets saved in the database. It’s amazing how much it cleans up the staff’s behaviour as soon as they realise the ramifications. When we explain it in training it’s funny how some people go a bit pale.


Stockbrokers’ conversations have been recorded for years – employees should hurry up and realise that emails are corporate property.




What are you waiting for? Email your questions, problems and issues to [email protected] right now!



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