Magazine article Management Today

What's Your Problem?

Magazine article Management Today

What's Your Problem?

Article excerpt

Q: I am the female manager of a sales team of about 35 at a large, blue-chip organisation.

As our team is geographically dispersed, and the reps travel a lot, we give them all company laptops. Recently, we had a virus outbreak so we had to hurriedly collect them all in and pass them to IT to check. The head of IT then contacted me to say that one of the laptops had some 'inappropriate' material downloaded from the internet on it. The culprit is a young but very promising salesman on my team. It's going to be an awkward conversation (probably not helped by the fact that I'm a woman), but I'm not sure how to reprimand him. I really don't want to lose him.

A: Many companies ask their staff to sign an agreement that their company computers may be used for company purposes only. In real life, it's extremely unlikely that everyone strictly conforms to this instruction; a certain amount of emailing or googling or booking tickets online is bound to go on. But no harm is done, little extra cost is incurred and employees may even be mildly grateful. The real advantage of such a ruling is that people such as you will never have to make a distinction between 'appropriate' and 'inappropriate' material. …

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