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Internet at work: Where are the limits

Workers acquired rights are considered to be sacred, no matter what: the right to take holidays, sick leaves and to go to the loo and make tea.

However, there has been another right that has recently been lurking around: the right to 'surf' on the virtual waves of the internet in your office.

My ex-employer was asking me last time whether Internet access could not be controlled because he noticed that productivity dipped as employees devoted more time to reading horoscopes rather than actually working.

There's no right or wrong answer though. The mere fact that there was no Acceptable Usage Policy in the first place makes it even more difficult to get employees to understand that the internet is a company resource just like the telephone and so is their working time.

Internet at work is quickly becoming a big inconvenience. As Channel 4 (opens in new tab) announced their decision to broadcast their programmes on the web, the federation of Small Businesses came forth to say that it did not need yet another time wasting activity for its workers.

Balancing acts will become vital if we don't want the workplace internet to become a ‘capharnaum’.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.