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The Corporate Double-edged E-sword: Legitimate Email & Internet Use

26 Nov, 2007 By: Paul Shearstone imageSource

The Corporate Double-edged E-sword: Legitimate Email & Internet Use

Everyone knows how frustrating and how much time is wasted in our lives
everyday dealing with unwanted emails. On any given day when you start work, you
can look forward to the morning ritual of sifting through one or 500 email spam
to see what you may have wanted to get through your spam filter. It's not that
we don't have adequate spam protection software to filter out the three
legitimate emails we wanted to receive from the hundreds sent.  The problem,
however, is anti-spam software needs ongoing education & re-education, but even
with that, often legitimate email inadvertently falls into the "Spam" or "Spam
Suspects" folder requiring people to take the valuable time to go through all
the spam. What a pain.  Email is to process what the internet is to information
and business – Too Much!

Like it or not, email & the internet have changed us and at times, they are
no friend to business. Email has become the "medium of choice" for avoiding
simple human interactivity. Vast amounts of information is sent & received by
way of e-blasts that require no human-to-human contact but nevertheless, demands
no small price in wasted productivity, time & profitability by workers required
to view and/or even respond to them.

For example, is there someone in your office  who, despite their sincere
altruistic intentions, wastes valuable corporate time  by emailing all sorts of
motivational stories, sayings and pictures to the rest of the company? Nearly
every office has one or two.  Today, if you are not keenly working hard at your
job, often at the computer, the boss assumes you are not working. On the other
hand, plunking away at your keyboard is not quite so obvious, is it? Think about
how much corporate time is wasted these days by employees who believe they are
masters at multi-tasking. You know who they are.  They surf the net, send
copious personal emails both in and outside the company in addition to
text-messaging and ongoing MSN chats that sit open all day on their desktop,
besides the real work the company is paying them good money to do.  Sadly, there
is nothing funny about that.

Internet Usage Statistics–Workplace Source:


More than 60% of companies have disciplined - and more than 30% have
terminated - employees for inappropriate use of the Internet. (Source: The
Center for Internet Studies)

27% of Fortune 500 companies have battled sexual harassment claims stemming
from employee misuse and abuse of corporate e-mail and Internet systems.
(Source: American Management Association)

70% of employees admit to viewing or sending adult-oriented personal e-mail
at work. (Source: NFO Worldwide) 30 to 40% of employee Internet use is not work
related. (Source: International Data Corp.)

Dow Chemical Co. fired 50 employees and disciplined 200 others after an
e-mail investigation turned up hard-core pornography and violent subject matter.
(Source: Associated Press)

25% of employees said they spent 10 to 30 minutes a day surfing non-related
work sites, 22%, said they spent 30 minutes to an hour, 12% said they spent one
to two hours online, while 13% admitted to spending more than two hours a day.
(Source: Vault.com)

Of more than 3,400 executives surveyed, 64.1 percent said that their
companies have a formal office policy in place to help manage employee use of
the Internet. (Source: Management Recruiters International)

37% of employees report that they search for jobs, 45% make travel
arrangements, and 11% play online games while at work. (Source: Vault.com)

46% of online holiday shopping is happening at work. (Source: Nielsen//NetRatings)

Long after the humor subsides from emails that imbue circumspection for one's
athletic performance or lack thereof, the gravity of the potential dangers email
and the internet bring to bear on business, must be taken seriously. The fact
is, the Internet is a double edged sword. One side cuts though the competitive
forces helping companies realize success, profitability and peak performance.
The other has the potential to cut a company right off at its knees.  Take heed.

Paul Shearstone is an International Keynote Speaker and Author. Contact him
at www.paulshearstone.com /
paul@paulshearstone.com /

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