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If your business uses email as part of its communication strategy, you need to have an email policy. While creating this policy is not a fun or easy job, it is a crucial one. Knowing why you need an email policy can help motivate you to get started, and knowing the types of information to include can make it easier to complete.
There are many reasons why an email policy is a necessity. First and foremost, it gives you a way to present employees with the rules they need to follow when using the company email system. For example, you can let employees know that they should not use it to send and receive personal emails. You can also present the rules about using personal computing devices (e.g., smartphones, desktop computers) to send and receive work emails.
Besides laying down the rules, an email policy provides an excellent way to let employees know that their emails can be read at any time. Even if you do not plan on regularly monitoring and reading their emails, you need to protect your right to do so. If you do not forewarn employees and then later read their emails, they could sue you for violating their privacy, even if they are being investigated for workplace misconduct (e.g., harassment). Although employees tend to lose these lawsuits, you will still have to spend time and money defending your business in court.
Another situation in which an email policy can help with legal matters is when employees are caught using your email system for inappropriate or illegal actions. Having a policy that explicitly states employees must not use the company email system for inappropriate or illegal purposes can minimize your business’s liability for their actions.
Your email policy needs to be unique to your business, but there are some elements commonly found in most email policies. A good place to start is to make sure that your email policy discusses the following:
You might also want to cover the best and worst email security practices in your email policy. For instance, you might provide guidelines on how to create strong passwords and a list of risky email behaviors, such as opening attachments in emails from unknown senders.
When creating your email policy, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. There are many sample email policies you can customize to your business. Plus, you can tap into your IT service provider’s expertise when you are creating this important document.
About CHIPS Computer Services
CHIPS Computer Services is an award winning Managed Services Provider specializing in help businesses increase efficiencies and profits by levering properly managed technology. To learn how CHIPS can help your business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule no cost business assessment.