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We've all had our internet faux-paus at work, and most of us aren't "lucky" enough to work in fields where we are required to go on Facebook or stay on Twitter all day - though there are a growing number of jobs that do require that - social media managers, brand advocates, whatever you want to call customer-facing internet-based PR folk.

But! The majority of us are not those people, and can get in serious trouble if we are found on the internet for personal use on company time - heck, even people who are on the internet (and social networks) for their company would probably be punished if they were found to be on their personal accounts rather than the company ones.

For those that toe the line with their internet practices at work, here are a few tips to make sure you stay out of trouble in the future.

using social media facebook in office

Top 4 Internet Etiquette for the Office


"I Don't Know" Doesn't Cut It


You may be able to get away with saying "I didn't know" the first time that you get caught, but these days, every company has an internet policy - look it up. Know the company rules for internet practices and follow them.

The biggest thing to remember at work is that you are using company property. Treat it as such. As much as you may understand the nuances of the machine that you work on, it isn't yours. You likely will not have the ability (or the permission) to install all the programs that you want to on your office computer, and more than anything - as what you are using is owned by the company - they have the right to inspect it's contents (and your email) anytime that they want to, with or without your permission.


Proper Time For "Personal Time"


But we all know there are days where we have to use our work computer for personal matters - this should be done, ideally, before or after work hours. If you need to check something during your lunch break, make sure that your colleagues are aware that you are actually on your lunch break and not even attempting to do office work.

And just in case your computer usage is being monitored (which it probably is) keep a log of the personal time that you spend on your work computer - if a superior asks why you were doing something you'll be prepared.

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Be Aware Of The Office Sneak


Every office has one - and if you can't figure out who it is, it's probably you. The person in the office who comes up to someone and reads over their shoulder, whatever they may be doing.

Know who this person is, and keep on guard. They could also interpret the most innocent things that you are doing on your computer (as a part of your office duties) as something you shouldn't be doing. Keep your eyes and ears out for this shady character - even when you're following company internet policy.


Email Etiquette


Email etiquette is a whole 'nother can of worms that I won't go into too much here, but perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves is PEOPLE WHO WRITE IN ALL CAPS AND DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS INTERPRETED AS YELLING. And something to keep in mind for anyone who frequently uses sarcasm - any kind of humor, sarcasm or irony is very difficult to interpret in emails. Best bet: keep your emails strictly professional in tone.

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