Five Things Not to Do on Work Computers; HR Can See Everything
Work. We all have to do it, most of us for decades on end and for those of us that love our jobs it's a labor of love. If you're not so inclined to like what you spend most of your day doing it's a labor of necessity since you need to eat and have a dry place to sleep.
In either case it is work. And our employers expect each of us to produce some kind of progress toward the company's overall goals each day in some way.
Also for many of us who spend most of our waking hours at work, the job is also a social outlet. Who of us hasn't met and become acquainted with someone who's become a lifelong friend at and outside of work? And that's where problems can start.
In the past idle conversations while working were private for the most part but in today's digital workplace almost nothing is private and anything that enters your work computer/company network is subject to be seen.
Five Things Not to Do On Your Work Computer
If you want to keep your personal life private never allowing anything you don't want your employer to know to enter your work computer is rule number one, including email, private messages and so on. Just opening your social media account once can be enough to give an employer access to every post, picture or opinion you've ever had.
This is not to say every employer is busy scanning everything on your machine all the time, but know it is possible and with software not really that hard to do.
1. HR departments often implement productivity software. This can monitor your keystrokes and what websites you visit and how frequently and for how long. Special occasion coming up and you jump online to order a gift; it's possible to know how long you shopped, what you bought and how much you spent.
2. Ahhh, but you've placed your Fathers Day photos in a special file on your workstation and didn't email or share them with anyone, you're safe right? Or you stored a personal document to print on the company printer without emailing it, you're safe right? No. File tracking software can monitor any file created on a company device. Any file.
3. Content tracking software constantly scans the company's network for inappropriate words. Writing your great American novel during lunch (your own time) and storing in a file on your workstation? If it's full of expletives or even in some cases simply non-work related issues your employer can find it. Even if you're in the parking lot in your car having a sandwich and writing away, if it goes over the company WI-Fi it can be seen and you may be in jeopardy.
4. Have you ever connected your phone to your computer for nothing more than getting a battery charge? If your device happened to back itself up while charging, everything on it could be seen on the company networks. Even if you don't think your phone backed itself up during a charging session or you can't find it anywhere on your computer your HR department might can with device tracking software. Even if your company says they will not pry into your personal issues, by plugging into their system, you've volunteered your personal life for scrutiny.
5. And now that we see your personal life can be downloaded to your work computer and be seen, work discussions vis a vis texts or emails you sent over your personal account can be accessed if you discussed company business. If you send a text to your spouse that the new boss is an idiot and your phone ends up plugged into your work computer everything you've said can be seen. This includes all social media platforms on your phone and all you've ever said can be accessed by some of the software applications mentioned earlier. Since your personal phone can be monitored, bring a charging brick to the office to keep the battery up.
Overall remember work is for work.
One of the first jobs I ever had building board-roads in remote drill sites our crusty old wildcatter boss told us young whippersnappers that without five days good hard honest work, the boss wouldn't be able to pay us on Fridays. As soon as he was back in his truck and driving away, we all had choice words about his wisdom and occasionally made up bawdy songs about him that helped us pass the day in the hot sun with a smile. But no one heard us but the trees, snakes and mud.
One other thing, Alexa is always listening.