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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

Personal e-mail: How much is too much?

How much personal e-mail is acceptable?

One of the hardest things to monitor is the amount of time your employees spend on personal e-mail. We now live in a world full of technology where everyone does his or her business either from a cell phone, a Blackberry, or their desk computer.

Nevertheless, during the course of doing business from electronic devices, employees are also receiving and sending personal communications as well. As you know, you cannot control the information that is sent to you through the Internet or e-mail at work. However, employees can control what they do with e-mail communications.

As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to inform your employees of the policies regarding the use of e-mail, but also to be aware of any misuses that may be occurring. The Electronic Mail (V.3.1) policy states, �Although modest personal use of University e-mail facilities is allowed, University e-mail facilities should be used for University-related educational and administrative purposes. Any use of University e-mail facilities that interferes with University activities and functions or does not respect the image and reputation of Purdue University is improper.�

Employees must keep in mind that the information they receive or send in an e-mail may not be acceptable or humorous to everyone. Therefore, they must limit the amount of personal messages they forward or create, because they do not know what ramifications they could cause later. A good rule to use when forwarding or creating an e-mail is to ask yourself, �Would I be embarrassed or in trouble if this e-mail appeared in the newspaper or in a lawsuit?� In addition, e-mails are the property of the University. They can be monitored and reviewed, and your access can be denied at any time.

Another issue supervisors need to be aware of is the amount of time truly spent on personal e-mail. Even though an employee may be communicating with another Purdue employee, if it is not work related, they need to limit the amount of time spent. When employees are using e-mail excessively, you need to determine if it is interfering with their ability to get their work completed or if they do not have enough work to keep busy.

- Jan Metzinger
Employee Relations

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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.