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Unrestricted Internet Access Still Gets Monitored at Work

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Just because your  Facebook access isn't blocked at work, doesn't mean no one's paying attention to what you're doing online.

While the majority of companies give employees free rein when it comes to the Internet, many are careful to pay attention to what their employees are looking at. A new survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam found that 53 percent of professionals work for a company that does not block any social networking, shopping or entertainment sites. For those workers whose Internet usage is restricted in the office, more than 20 percent admitted to frequently using their personal mobile devices to get around the constraints.

Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said even if companies don't block access to certain sites, they might be monitoring employee activity for excessive use.

"Professionals should be mindful of how they are spending their time while at the office," Hosking said. "Surfing the Web might provide a nice break from work, but it should never get in the way of it."

OfficeTeam offers employees several tips on accessing the Internet for nonbusiness purposes, including:

  • Get in the know: Familiarize yourself with corporate Web policies. Also, assess the culture: Some organizations encourage their employees to leverage social media as a business tool, while others frown on it.
  • Assume someone's watching: Just because nobody's looking over your shoulder, doesn't mean your online activity isn't being tracked. Most companies monitor their employees' Internet use.
  • Don't overshare: Resist the urge to forward cute kitten videos or other irrelevant Internet "gems" to co-workers, and never send objectionable content.
  • Think outside the boxes: Lots of retail deliveries at the office could make your manager question whether you're bagging all of the bargains on your own time.
  • Keep an eye out: Be wary of suspicious emails or downloads that may cause viruses or other security concerns. Alert your information technology team if anything looks amiss.

The research was based on surveys of nearly 450 employees who work in an office setting.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.