Enlightened Internet policies work


Enlightened Internet policies work

The days of employees being sacked for personal use of the Internet at work are numbered: enlightened organisations are encouraging their employees to use the Internet for non-business use.

Two speakers at the tif conference actively encourage their staff to use the Web as much as possible.

"You have to encourage people to use the Web all the time," stressed Margaret Smith, e-commerce director of insurance company Legal & General.

"It tells us things that are going on, and we need that wider thinking, and IT people come back with interesting ideas," she said.

Smith added that she has a two-line Internet policy to guard against pornography, libel or viruses in the workplace: "You do need a policy to let people know what their liabilities are," she said, likening her position to that of a chocolate factory.

"Chocolate factories encourage their staff to eat the chocolate and don't ban it," she explained.

The other speaker, a director of a major tif member organisation, has a similar approach.

He identified slow performance in the Internet due to a wide spread of sites that staff accessed.

"Our people need to be fluent in the Internet so we increased the bandwidth to encourage a broader use of the Internet, including non-business use."

Microsoft has a similar stance. Simon Brown, Microsoft's UK enterprise customer unit director, who spoke at the conference, said that Microsoft's position is akin to allowing people to use a note pad and pencil. "You don't tell people how they use it. You look at their overall productivity," he told Computer Weekly.

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This was first published in May 2000


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