3 things you should know about email at work

1 Personal care
Would you use your employer’s headed paper and franking machine for booking holidays or gossiping about your company? You’d probably think twice before giving your work address for personal post – particularly if it could be opened by others in the organisation. And would you joke and gossip on the phone if your boss could hear every word? In fact most would consider these actions as asking for trouble, but such common sense deserts many when it comes to email.

2 Public liability
Your rights to privacy are not the same when you are at work. For example, your daily post is probably already opened and scanned by a colleague without you minding. The disclaimers which appear on emails, denying responsibility for content but still urging you to delete the message once read, tell you how jumpy employers feel about personal use of company email. Remember that anything you write from a company address can have repercussions for your employer.

3 Wish you were here
Sackings for abuse of web-based communication tools have increased. Even bloggers who have been coy about the organisations they gossiped about have come to grief. Claiming ignorance of the rules is no defence. If an employer is paying for your time and Internet access they will not look kindly on you misusing either. Keep safe by regarding your emails as postcards that will be read by everyone in the post room and, possibly, your boss.