Know the standards

There was an interesting case that happened this week in Romania. It centred on the use of social media and online activity while at work. At the heart of it was whether a member of staff had their rights violated when the employer accessed the private messages that had been sent.

Full details of the case can be found here.

I think there are a number of important points that the case raises and firstly it is about staff understanding what personal access to social media, the Internet and other accounts they have. Are they able to use work equipment during their breaks to access the accounts? Are they able to use their own equipment during work hours to send online messages?

Social media and online activity is something we can all do at any minute of the day and through our own mobile phones. It is just an accepted way of life now that we can log onto social networks and share information throughout the day. But the bosses seem to have failed to keep up with the changes and what they may mean in the workplace.

I have been less concerned about the possibility of my online activity being checked on probably because of the fact I work for the police and the professional standards that are expected are, I think, fairly clear. There are standards that we should all accept while at work. Obviously, I don’t think companies should ‘snoop’ or pry into online activity without a clear justification. However, it is up to us all to know what is acceptable and to work within those guidelines.

The situation is only going to become stickier as people become so used to being able to do online activity all the time.

The bottom line here is do we have strong enough policies in place and do we make sure that members of staff understand what is acceptable and what is expected of them? When we are all busy this can become a job that we struggle to reach on our ‘to-do lists’. So, do you know what the policy says and if you are a professional communicator have you ensured the information has been shared?


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Crisis comms, FCIPR. FPRCA, PRCA trainer, Chartered Assessor. Former PRCA Council chair. Women in PR ambassador.

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