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15 September 2007

Office Ethics I - Internet

You know, it's now Ramadan here, and people try to improve themselves during this holy month, they try to get closer to Allah (God), and do good things. And this inspired me to pick a new topic to talk about here, let me call it "Office Ethics".

I'll mainly focus on questions like, Is it ethical to do so and so?, and most of the time I'll wait for your answers, because I am not a preacher and I need your feedback to guide me.

Most of us have Internet connectivity at work, they work on PC's and they have IM's there such as MSN, AOL, etc. They are also allowed to surf the Internet and download music. So the question is, when you are supposed to work from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, is it ethical to do non-business activities during the working hours, like chatting with your friends, checking your Facebook profile, watching videos on YouTube, downloading movies, etc?

You may say that it is not ethical for sure, and you are wasting your time. But on the other, we are humans not machines, we cannot work continuously without taking any rest. For me it is a bit more clear. In the company I work in now, there is some kind of unwritten agreement, that people are allowed to was as much time as they want as long as they finish their tasks in time. Some other companies have certain softwares to block MSN, and P2P applications as well as blocking some web sites, but for sure they cannot block everything. I used to work in one of those companies before, but when I needed some rest I used to grab a paper and pen and start drawing. So at the end of they day, people are going to waste their time even if you lock them in a cages and order them to work continuously. The funny thing is that in that company I used to leave at 5:00 PM sharp, but now I can stay for many hours after 5:00 without being pissed off. I am also more productive in my current job.

But, is it all about delaying your tasks!? Sometimes people download movies and stuff from the internet, and this may slow down their co-workers connection, and affect their business related online activities. Sometimes your chit-chat may disclose some of your companies secrets? I hate it when people send me jokes and religious-stuff on my business email.

So finally, I want you to tell me:

* Is it ok to do non-business online activities during your working hours? (Yes - No - Yes, with limits, please mention them)
* Is it ok to send jokes and funny mails to your friends or co-workers on their business mail?
* How can you tell if downloading a movie, or doing a voice call is going to harm your co-workers connectivity? Aren't we supposed not to use those bandwidth intensive applications at work?

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  1. Ok. In my own humble openion, non-business online activities as fine as long as they don't interfer with work, for example, an employee who has finished his assigned work and has nothing to do, there is no harm is playing games or surfing the web because he has no current assignment at hand, its even better instead of having him wonder around and bother people who do have some work to do, right? As long as your doing it in your free time and its not interfering with your work, then thats fine.

    As for jokes using your business email, i don't approve of that since it only should be used for business, i mean, there are tons of free email service providers out there, one can sign up for a personal email and use it as he wishes.

    now as for the bandwidth thing, i have to side with the IT people and network admins on this one, because i am one of them and i know whats it like to lose the bandwidth, some applications like Enterprise Resource Planning and management and need all the bandwidth they can get and if we lose bandwidth due to movies and large files being downloaded this will affect work, also if you are on a shared like that has internet connectivity on it, it will also affect the connection speeds. plus. work isn't really a place to download movies and music is it? sending emails and chatting is one thing conditioned it doesn't interfer with work as i mentioned earlier, but downloadming movies and other large files thats a different matter :)

  2. 1: Yes, but only when you've done what you have to do.

    2: Yes of course, whats wrong with that?

    3: Hmmm, hard question. I'd say no, since if you do it, someone else might do it when you aren't.

  3. yes

    if i were the person in charge, i'd let my employees do whatever they want on the single condition.. No Tasks Delay!

  4. i beleive, that even if u TRY ur best to focus the whole time, it's scientifically impossible. So we always have to do things belma32oul, which means.. yeahh u can check ur facebook, but not spend hours, yeah u can chat, bas mesh 3ala 7esab sho3'lak. regarding downloading movies, in my personal opinion, it's not appropriate to do at work, especially if it hinders connectivity for other people at work.
    I dont think its appropriate to send jokes and unofficial emails on business emails, they created personal email for that.
    Very good topic ya Tarek indeed!

  5. When I have nothing in hand, I usually chat online or watch youtube, esp I'm alone in the office most of the time. And when I have heavy tasks I'm always happy to do it even when I'm late at work. And I guess right amount entertainment boosts the work productivity, esp in the IT field.

  6. -yes, as long as they can accomplish their tasks...if not?! then it's the company's fault it hired an immature :)

    -NO, NO and fact..i don't think it's okay to send jokes and stupid forwards on business and personal mails!!!!

    -if it harms others connectivity, it's harming THEIR movie downloads and voice calls!! so they'll have to live with it :)
    okay's the IT's job here!! they can control this very easily!!

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