Internet etiquette at work

By Vivien Bergl

It’s important to know what your organization’s policy is about personal Internet use. Saying you don’t know about the company’s rules is not an excuse.
 
Remember, e-mail accounts at work are not private. The e-mail address does not belong to you personally; it’s the company’s. They have total rights to your account. Sometimes it is permissible to use the Internet for personal use. Usually the guidelines are to use it only before or after work hours or during lunchtime. Keep time limits to a minimum.
 
If you are able to use it at work, keep these basic etiquette guidelines:
  • Keep your correspondence professional.
  • Beware of your language.
  • Avoid sending out e-mail that can be offensive, i.e. religious, political, or, of course, pornographic.
 
The second important component of Internet etiquette is the use of e-mail as part of your job. Of all Internet activities, e-mail is the most popular. People at work sometimes do things while using e-mail that they would not do if they were communicating via letter.
 
Here are some points to keep in mind:
  • Be polite in your e-mail. Please and thank you can go along way.
  • Avoid being curt or going on and on. Use of shorthand, such as OMG and Plz, might be inappropriate.
  • All uppercase letters can seem like shouting, all lower case like mumbling. Use your judgment.
  • Think about whether sending cutesy-mail is a good idea. Know your audience.
  • Check misspellings and grammar.
 
Remember that your e-mail correspondence says a lot about you. Your e-mail often can be the recipient’s first impression of you and the organization you represent. Read your message over before you hit send. You want to come across as friendly, respectful, and approachable.
 
Following the above guidelines can help you be effective in your communication via e-mail, which is, of course, the point.
 
If you would like to talk about this or any other problem or concern, contact Solutions Employee Assistance Program at (800) 526-3485 or at www.solutions-eap.com.
 
Reprinted with permission from HR.com.
 
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