There’s networking and then there’s social networking
Will you be my friend? Not during the workday…
Everyone always encouraged you to network on the job, right? Well they didn’t mean social networking—as in, checking your Facebook and Twitter pages every five minutes. Programs like SocialLogix help employers monitor their employees’ use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
That means that employers can determine just how much time you’re spending on your social network accounts during the workday and what you’re doing—or shouldn’t be doing. So keep the Facebook poking for the off hours, young budding professionals.
Get Smart: Tips on managing your 9-5 behavior
It’s called a personal email account for a reason. If you simply have to send an email during the workday, send it from your Gmail account or from any other personal email address, which your employer likely won’t be able to monitor.
If you’re the lucky owner of an iPhone, Blackberry or other email-sending phone, you likely enjoy the freedom of sending emails just about anytime, anywhere. If you’re concerned that your boss will see you on Gmail during the workday, take a moment to compose an email under your desk or in the restroom, but make it quick!
If you can’t go a few hours without checking the gossip news websites or the latest online sales, eat your lunch at your desk and scroll through the headlines on your smartphone.
Nothing sabotages an attempt at self-control better than a persistent friend or relative, insistent on getting you to answer your phone. So set guidelines with friends and family. If your little sister or mom’s constant telephone calls or texts are getting in the way of you doing your job, let them know that you love them, but that between the hours of 9 a.m. and (you fill in the blank) you have to focus on work.
Know your environment. If your boss leads by example and encourages you to take a few breaks a day, then you shouldn’t feel so bad about texting your friends about what time you’ll meet them for dinner. Just don’t let that text turn into another and another and…well, you know how it goes.
Whatever you do, be professional. If you absolutely must send a personal email from your professional account, make sure you’re not saying anything you wouldn’t want your boss reading. Even if your boss is really Cruella de Vil’s evil twin, she doesn’t want to read that in your email.
Just in case you were wondering, here are the industries most likely to monitor your activity at work, as noted by Yahoo! HotJobs
- financial services
The bottom line is that your bosses aren’t out to “get” you. Just like rules exist in the fashion world to determine what is and isn’t appropriate, there are workplace guidelines for how to conduct yourself. And, truth be told, if you beat out tons of other applicants for a competitive internship or job, you owe it to your boss (and yourself) to prove that you really do belong there.
Many employers don’t monitor their employees, but just because your boss doesn’t tell you you’re being monitored, you’re not necessarily in the clear. Many employers monitor your behavior whether or not you know it, so the bottom line is this: act professionally and be smart about what you do at work.
However, your bosses are humans too, and that means they’ll likely understand if you take five minutes out of your day to run to the restroom or get a breath of fresh air. And no one is going to begrudge you an emergency phone call—just make sure your emergency is a valid one and not a last-minute sample sale downtown!
Bob Holmes, high school sports editor for the Boston Globe
Dennis Devlin, Chief Information Security Officer at Brandeis University
Boston branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration