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There is no denying that the internet is a huge part of our lives. There is very little we can do without it these days and whilst it has opened many opportunities for us all, it also brings with it, risks. 
In the past, it was common for an internet policy to exclude most or even all internet use during working hours, but times have changed. 
Now, it is likely that the internet is an essential part of the everyday work life. Most of us need to use it to do our jobs. 
Times have changed dramatically. And because times have changed, so should our policies, however, if you have not updated your policy since the 90’s, then this is a must read for you. 
The purpose of an internet policy in the past was mainly to prevent employees from using their work time to browse the internet but these days, there is a more serious tone. 
Now, we have access to a lot more information. And not just the information we need to do our jobs. We can literally find anything we want online and can be dangerous for any employer. 
Of course, the sentiment behind past internet policies is still relevant. Employees should not be using it to browse personal content during work time but when that is taken to another level, it brings with it more serious concerns. 

Why do you need an internet policy in the workplace? 

1 - Productivity conducted a survey with over 3,200 people to see how many hours per week were being spent on non-work-related internet activities. The results showed that 21% of them said they spend up to 5 hours per week on browsing unrelated content. 
This results in a huge cost to your business. If 21% of your employees are unproductive for 5 hours a week, that is an average of 12.5% of their time not spent on work-related activities. That is an eye-watering statistic. 

2 – Security 

Without an internet policy in place, employees could be browsing unsecure sites, making your business vulnerable. Cybercrime is at an all-time high and if staff are not aware of sites that leave them open to it, they can be putting your business and your client details in serious danger. 

3 – Sexual harassment  

You may wonder how browsing the internet can amount to a sexual harassment allegation but cast your mind back a few weeks to the Parliament scandal. An MP was caught watching inappropriate content in the houses of parliament. This was offensive to his colleagues, and it caused considerable discomfort for all involved. If this type of content is shared, it could easily result in a sexual harassment case. 

When putting together an internet policy, you should be flexible and take into consideration the times we live in. Consider the reasons employees need to be online and incorporate that into the policy.  Be clear in your expectations around the type of sites that are prohibited, and the consequences should abuse occur.  We do not need to go back to the days where we banned all internet activity, but we do need to take a sensible approach to protect our businesses.  If you need any help in writing a policy, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Please do not hesitate to contact if you would like to discuss writing a policy. Taking HR from 'TO DO' to 'DONE'. 
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