Survey Shows Majority of Firms Have Formal Electronic Communication Policies

Jul 14, 2000

MENLO PARK, CA -- In today's increasingly wired workplace, businesses have taken the lead in establishing guidelines for employee e-mail and Internet use. In a recent survey, 65 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) polled said their companies have formal procedures regulating electronic communication.

The survey was developed by RHI Consulting, a leading specialized consulting firm that provides information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees.

CIOs were asked, "Does your company provide formal guidelines to its employees about Internet and e-mail use?" Their responses:

Yes 65%
No   35%

"Clearly defining e-mail and Internet policies guards against potential problems later on, such as productivity losses caused by excessive personal use of the web at work or downtime caused by computer viruses inadvertently transmitted online," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of RHI Consulting. "In addition, establishing ground rules prevents employees from feeling they're being monitored arbitrarily."

Spencer Lee points out that with recruitment and retention being key issues today, employers must strike a balance between protecting business interests and maintaining an atmosphere of employee trust. "While well-crafted and clearly communicated e-policies are a prudent safeguard, they should be flexible, reflect your firm's culture and not make workers feel as if they're cut off from the outside world."

Survey results showed that CIOs at large companies are most likely to establish formal guidelines governing e-mail and Internet use. Eighty percent of technology executives at firms with 1,000 or more employees said they have official policies regulating electronic communication.

RHI Consulting provides firms with skilled IT professionals for projects ranging from e-commerce initiatives and multiplatform systems integration to help desk and network support. The company has locations throughout North America and Europe, and offers online job search services at www.rhic.com.

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