I'm the freakin' email police :(


Today I had to institute the “no email except for business” policy. So what do I do?

We’ve had the email policy in place for almost a year and a half now, but things have been getting out of hand including a virus that attacked some of the documents…luckily I am the type of person that gets over zealous with backups and such that I had the main document templates backed up on my machine.

Anyhow, now I have to “bust” people for personal emails…all because we’ve been too lienent on the issue.

How does one go about this? Politely remind them, or simply show the personal emails to the bosses (one of them is my brother.)

I have already offered to help the one that has become the biggest offender in the email problem, he has an AOL screen name so he can go check his email from there, but I told him he CAN’T download any attached files.
What’s a nice girl like me to do?

No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. You’re having to enforce a policy that everyone has been ignoring for some time. My advice is to let everyone know that this is shit flowing downhill, and that you don’t WANT to be doing this, but you have to. Give one warning, and if they can’t comply, mete out whatever punishment is supposed to be meted out by the policy, or sic the proper authority. It might also help to make an example of anyone you think deserves it.
You’re going to have a very hard time getting people to comply. If the policy is not enforced strictly, you soon won’t be able to enforce it at all. I wish you luck – more luck than my bosses had getting us to stop playing games. One of us gets suspended for it once a month, but we know damn well they cant bear to fire us for it.

Clerks - Just because they serve you doesn’t mean they like you.

I haven’t had to crack down on Email as yet, so I can’t help with the specifics of enforcing that one, but I have implemented plenty of unpopular policies.

My approach to my company is generally a ‘benevolent dictatorship’, and I’ve had the most success implementing new policies (especially those I knew the inmates would find onerous) by sitting everyone down and telling them the whats and the whys, then opening it up to discussion.

Lord knows I can be wrong, and the employees are no slouches or I wouldn’t have hired them in the first place. Usually they understand the problem and the reason for the policy, and just as usually they help fine tune the solution so that nobody feels like they had something crammed down their throats.

The largest part of enforcement is getting the citizenry to agree that the law is necessary, and that it’s in their best interest to obey. A short ‘team meeting’, moderated by a boss who at least appears willing to listen might make yer task a whole lot easier.
Dr. Watson
“I don’t want to know what the law is, I want to know who the judge is.” – Roy Cohn

I second the good Doc’s suggestion.

OTOH, I’m in a less than pleasant mood, tonight, and I wonder how long the personal stuff would continue if you began printing and posting the really personal e-mail on the cafeteria door? (After suitable warnings, of course.)

The Doc’s suggestion is better than mine. (If I could throttle my CEO with my bare hands, I’d feel better.)



We will be doing an “article” about the policy in general in the next employee newsletter.

I kind of wish I had not gone into my bro’s office and said “It’s a possiblity that the virus stemmed from a personal email” Kinda hard not to blurt out out my feelings with my brother ya know?

Oh well, what is done is done, it happened on a Friday and hopefully the fears of the employees will have subsided come Monday…

[Warning: Slightly sadistic tech-support tales]

I work as a consultant in a department of about 500 users. We have standard disk images we use to set up computers for new people, upgrades, etc. We also have a list of approved software, most of which is already installed on the image. Invariably, though, people bring in or download their favorite little apps and games and such. usually, these don’t cause a problem, but every once in a while, there is an issue, particularly with conflicting .dll files. The solution? Back up the user’s documents to their home directory, and rescript their machine. We’ll reinstall and set up anthing that’s approved, but nothing else.

Why do I mention all of the above? AOL is one of our most frequent offenders. After all, folks get these CDs in the mail every week, and they want to check their home email, so they set it up. Unfortunately, it conflicts with other applications, so we kill it on sight.

Does your company have a similar policy you could use to your advantage?

A committee is a lifeform with six or more legs and no brain.

We do have a policy, but the outline of using a software is based upon pretty much what I say is acceptable or not. I try to discourage anything that’s not standard.

Me, I have AOL on my NT Workstation, yeah it’s 3.0 but it helps with trouble shooting email problems.

Also, for the most part we haven’t had problems with AOL on the network. It’s all pretty basic, Windows 98 (most machines) with Office 97 (most machines) MS Project and that’s pretty much it. There are few exceptions but most people know I wont support those that aren’t directly part of what is considered standard in the company.

For example, our safety and equipment office bought this piece of shit pretend Access program that tracks tools. For 2 months they fought with me (more or less to get a new computer) that the computer was the problem not the pen (OCR). I told them for all this time, my system sees the freakin thing it’s the freakin program. They claimed that the software maker was blaming the machine. Hello, one day one of the girls accidentally started the demo and the freaking thing was recognized. Since then they haven’t questioned my ability to know what and where the problem stems from.

So anyhow I go on a mini rant, but for the most part AOL has been used on our network with few problems. It’s the freakin screen savers I get my panties in a bunch over. They ask me questions about a screen saver program and I cut them off immediately and tell them I don’t support them and your best screen saver is your off button…the all know my feelings towards these intrusive little trolls of software.

Tech, the problem is that it’s hard to track down personal email without monitoring it. That leaves you with the people who run the attachments, etc.

For that, you could try to implement a policy where they are responsible for the damages caused, and have to work unpaid as many hours as the tech staff does, while fixing the problem, or something. Something bad, but not firing-level bad.

Perhaps all email with attachments could be rerouted to you (as the admin), for checking, before passing on to the users. This serves the purpose of screening for viruses and stuff, and also makes sure that you see all violations of the personal-email, or at least, those with attachments.

You’d probably be more popular if you wrote up a document showing them how to register for web-based email, preferably a service that doesn’t even support attachments, and told them that they could send personal email, but only via the web. No additional software (beyond browser) required.

And then, if they need any attachments, or get any for work purposes, those would be seen by you first and only forwarded (or the attachment) if approved.