For the majority of people, a day at work involves sitting in front of a computer 95% of the time. However, it is really difficult to spend 8+ hours a day sitting at a computer just doing work. It is not only physically tiring for your body, but it is mentally tiring as well. Most people can’t work for 8 hours straight, they need little breaks now and then.
These days, our world is connected by technology, and so most of the time when someone wants to take a break they are going to go on a site like Facebook or YouTube, where they can be entertained and turn off their brain for a few minutes.
But you have to remember that while you are at work, anything that you do on that computer is considered company time and company resources. And while to you it might not seem like a big deal, it can be very easy to go overboard and give the impression that you are taking advantage. Not to mention that legally your employers have the right to monitor every single thing you do on the company computer.
Chatting and Email
Many companies these days use a chatting tool in order to help with inter-office communication. At Network Depot, every employee has a Skype account, and we use those accounts to send instant messages to each other throughout the day. That way we are able to communicate faster and more efficiently, without interrupting other people.
However, you need to be very careful about what you say to your co-workers through the messaging programs, and through e-mails. Companies legally have the right to look through any of your conversations, email or instant. So if you feel the need to complain to your friend about your supervisor, you really should just do it in person. Those emails and instant messaging conversations can come back to haunt you, especially if you end up leaving the company on bad terms.
There are certain websites that are simply not appropriate to go to when you are on a company computer in a professional work environment. Most of the time these sites will be blocked by your firewall, but there are some sites that can be dangerous, and you might not even realize it. By going to these websites or clicking on links, not only are you using company time and resources for something that does not fall into the category of work, you are also opening up your computer, and your entire company network, to viruses that tend to accompany sites and links that can’t be trusted. And you do not want to be the person who brought down the network with a virus because you clicked on a link you weren’t supposed to.
A good general rule of thumb is that if you don’t know what it is or where it will take you, don’t click on it.
Okay, raise your hand if you think that video of a cat playing the piano is hilarious. Or if you missed the latest Family Guy episode and really want to watch it on Hulu. Spending a few minutes out of your day to watch a funny video or taking your lunch hour to relax and watch the latest Family Guy episode to clear your head makes it easier to get through the work day.
But if you stream too much or too often, you are going to end up slowing down the internet for the rest of the office. You don’t want to be the reason for the slow internet, especially since the company can find out exactly why the internet was slow, and who caused it. So you should probably wait until you get home before you watch the entire movie of The Hunger Games on YouTube.
It is a really good idea to have interests in your life that have nothing to do with work. They will help keep you sane and grounded, and will help you cope with those bad days. Just make sure that you leave all of that outside the office. Just like you should try never to bring your work home with you, try and leave your home out of the office. It won’t look so great if you are discovered having reports that have nothing to do with work on your computer. It means you are spending company time and resources on something that is not benefiting the company.
Whether it’s Solitare, Words With Friends, or Fruit Ninja, we all have our favorite digital games. They help to release stress and give our brains a rest during difficult days. Or, they could even help you be more productive. Some people think better when they are occupied with mindless games.
Just don’t play them on your company computer. If you really need to take a minute or two break, use your smartphone or your tablet (as long as those weren’t given to you by your company). Not only does it look bad to be using company resources to play games, you could end up slowing down the internet for the rest of your co-workers.
Or, another option is to take a walk outside. That will help clear your head too.
Bottom line here is, you spend so much time on your company computer, it is really easy to start thinking of it as your own, but it’s not. And while everyone needs breaks during the day and some time every now and then to clear their head, work is work. You need to remember that while you are in that professional environment it is important to act professional, and that includes how you use company time and resources, like your computer.