Emails are indispensable for any business
Email is a way for employees to communicate with clients, share ideas, and stay in the loop even when not in the office. But just like any other business tool, they can be abused, and when not done right, they can do more harm than good.
Some employees might use the company email to set up a personal business or send chain emails. Or they might unknowingly send confidential information putting the interests of the company at risk. There are lots of ways that using emails could go wrong. Which is why having an email usage policy that regulates how the employees interact with and make use of emails is just as important as all the other clauses in the company’s employment policies.
The need for an email policy
To make sure emails are used acceptably, the company must set an adequate email policy and make sure all employees are aware of and adhere to it. By having an email policy in place, the company will ensure that:
- Productivity is increased by limiting the time spent on non-work related matters.
- Employees are aware of any privacy concerns in their communications.
- The company is protected against vicarious liability in case an employee breaks the law.
- The system is safe and secure, and the reputation of the business is intact.
- The employees stay updated on the legal risks of certain actions.
- The employees know who to contact if they get in trouble or need advice and guidance.
It is recommended that this policy is made part of the Employment Contract and that all employees sign on it. This is to help protect both the employer and the worker and safeguard the interests of the company.
How to enforce an email policy
Once a good email policy is drafted, and all employees have signed it, it’s important to monitor all system resources related to the email service. Email as a business tool is provided to the employee for business purposes, so it’s within the company’s rights to inspect all data and communications that go through the system.
The monitoring is meant to guarantee that all employees comply with the company policies and it should focus on the content, type and size of attachments and whether there are graphic or media files included. Also, chain-emails and high-volume correspondence should be monitored since it would have a negative impact on the performance of the system.
If an employee misuses the company email service, a disciplinary procedure will be launched to determine the seriousness of the breach of policy. Based on its findings, a penalty is decided, and an employee might get a warning or, in very serious cases, they might face dismissal.
For a widely-used business tool like emails, every company should have an email policy that protects both its interests and its employees from the risks that come with using internet services. Such policy, however, should not interfere with the employees right for privacy outside of work when they’re not using the company resources.