- Internet

Internet Access Within the Workplace – Privilege Or a Right?

What is an employee right?

To start with rights are based on what is necessary to establish the minimum workplace conditions to have a safe and healthy workplace. Rights cannot be taken away by employers and there are many laws to protect employees from just that.

Privileges on the other hand are earned for good behaviour and can be taken away when it hasn’t been learnt.

Is the Internet a right?

Is the Internet really necessary to support the basis of health and wellbeing in the employee? Does removing the internet put the employee at risk of serious harm or injury?

No. Even though the Internet is an effective tool in the workplace, it is not required by any employee to prevent hardship.

It is a privilege

Very little internet activity is used for work activities and is often a method of engaging in personal interests instead of work. The most common work use for the Internet is when employees are too lazy to read a manual or go find information they need. They just go ask Google for a quick answer.

Because of the high level of personal use, the Internet has become a privilege at work.

It is important to classify it as a privilege

As the employer you need to be able to control and monitor the employees use of the internet while at work, especially if they are working outside the office environment.

By classing it as a privilege you are now able to remove or restrict an employee’s access to the Internet in cases of:

  • they access inappropriate or illegal content
  • they spend excessive time on personal pursuits instead of work
  • they use it to fill in their day, wasting time
  • using social media to promote or participate in inappropriate comments or posts

Employee’s have no need for your Internet access anyway

With the low cost of wireless computers and mobile technology your employee’s will often have more internet access options that your business does.

They can use and pay for their own access instead of using your equipment and access. After all, you are paying for the systems and software that they are using in the workplace.

The important factor in the workplace is how you manage your wireless internet systems to ensure that unauthorised people cannot just log onto your systems.

Additional burden of cost is on your business

If your employees expect internet access in the workplace, you will require the services of a competent technician to establish strong security access protocols to prevent your workplace IT system being breached by malware that an employee has let in.

Overall there are too many costs and requirements involved to protect your business from employees accessing the internet from work. This and the fact that they really don’t need access to do their work is a good motivator to see it as a privilege they need to earn.

Otherwise you will end up explaining in court one day why you didn’t control your employees actions on the internet.