How Strict Should Your Business Be About People Using Office Resources For Personal Purposes?

How Strict Should Your Business Be About People Using Office Resources For Personal Purposes?How Strict Should Your Business Be About People Using Office Resources For Personal Purposes?

Nobody wants to be thought of as ‘the boss from hell’, and it is common for people in some jobs to take a few liberties with the resources given to them for work purposes, such as office equipment, company phones and internet, postal services and stationery. But just when is this a harmless perk of the job that boosts employee morale, and when does it become a waste of your money?

Here we take a look at some of the most common things employees in offices help themselves to, and whether or not it is a problem.

Internet Access

How Strict Should Your Business Be About People Using Office Resources For Personal Purposes?Internet access at work is pretty much essential for most employees in office based jobs these days, however you don’t really want to think that your staff are procrastinating on Facebook or Twitter when they should be getting on with their work. Of course, while you can block certain sites, this can seem like you don’t trust your staff and also doesn’t always stop people wasting time on social media if they want to – after all most people have smartphones that have apps they can use if they want to be checking in on their tweets and Facebook updates.

Some companies also take the blocking thing too far – while it may be reasonable to block Facebook (though some staff may have legitimate networking or sales reasons to use social media at work), some companies block resources like Google which are basically essential if someone needs to do some web research. It is generally better to have policies rather than strict blocks and have them policed by line management. If somebody is seen to be using Facebook or another site that is against the policies set out during work time, they can be disciplined, but it means there isn’t a load of paperwork to fill out and support calls to IT if one of your sales guys needs to get on LinkedIn to find the name of a company’s CEO.


How Strict Should Your Business Be About People Using Office Resources For Personal Purposes?Stationery is one of those things people tend to think it is OK to take from the office if they need it, and in most cases, if it isn’t abused, this doesn’t cost a company very much. Due to economies of scale your probably get office supplies cheap and therefore the odd biro being slipped into a pocket and taken home to write Christmas cards isn’t a big deal. However, more costly items like packs of printer paper, toner cartridges, leather bound diaries and notebooks and other higher end office goods should be kept in locked cabinets a trusted employee has the key to to avoid losses.

Letting your staff take advantage of the facilities you can get at your office can be a good way to inspire mutual trust and make them enjoy working for you. However, it is always important to consider your bottom line and make sure that you have clear policies in place that everyone has access to, which set out what you will and won’t accept in terms of staff giving themselves little perks at work!

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The author of this post, Rose Jones, works at Grand Crayon, a company dealing in office stationery supplies in Ontario. She is a voracious reader and her other hobbies include sewing and crochet. Log on to to know more about her company.


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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites and, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.

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