Workplace and social technologies are so commonplace today that even a child can use them, and they often do. It is easy to make assumptions, take for granted, or acquire habits that steer away from the original purpose or intent of the medium you are using. And this is magnified when it comes to electronic business communication with colleagues, clients or suppliers who you deal with on a regular basis. Inappropriate use can result in very unfortunate consequences (you could find yourself out of work!).
There are many high profile cases, that have been highlighted in the media, that demonstrate the risks associated with the misuse of electronic communication and the serious consequences for all parties involved. In a business context, how serious is serious?
To say that it could cost someone their job is not an overstatement. Even seemingly innocent messages can be very problematic. Consider the case of a legal executive in a City firm that was forced to resign after sending his assistant an email insisting that she pay a £4 dry cleaning bill for a ketchup stain on his trousers. Basically a silly exchange of emails was leaked outside the firm, went viral and in the end the firm was forced to investigate, the highly paid lawyer left the firm soon after.
As well as the opportunity for people you copy in on an email to send this to anyone they wish there is also the another issue to consider. Anyone who works for a businesses that operates in the finance sector should be very aware that there is every possibility that the business is regulated by JFSC as such they will be required to maintain emails and other forms of technology-based communication for legal and regulatory reasons and to make them available when a related issue arises.
In such cases this means that, when using your firm’s technology, nothing is private, it is saved for significant periods of time and can be produced to regulators or parties in a litigation. If you work in finance and wanted to remember one thing, it is this: Anything in your firms email is their property – fully searchable and retrievable and attributable to you and your firm. This applies to all new forms of technology too: IM, blackberry, VOIP, and whatever comes next.
Many large firms also employ a system that scans emails that contain certain words and phrases, this process may be invisible but it exists and could be your downfall.
Finally a word on Blogs, if you run a Blog then you need to be aware that your employers can also see what you are posting! Not a good idea after a bad day at the office to post a rant about your employer on your Blog, possibly even worse sharing information that is business related that should be confidential!
So think carefully before you hit that send/post button.
If you have any examples of the above please let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
Member since: 9th July 2012
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