How should you use your work E-mail?
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer
Over the last 15 years, corporate email has gone from an experimental tool to a core business necessity. It is almost hard to imagine a business (of any size) being able to function without a uniform and secure email platform. As such, it has become a blind expectation for any employee to be given a new corporate email address anytime they start a new job; this is simply how the world works today. Most of us have become so accustomed to this reality that we don't flinch when assigned a new address. By now, we all know the drill. Or do we?
Insist on it
Believe it or not, there are still companies out there that have yet to embrace corporate email or to institute any form of internal communication standard. I have personally worked for reasonably-sized companies that do not provide a corporate email address to their employees. If you happen to arrive at such a company, you should certainly feel free to ask why such measures have yet to be taken. It is often a sign of a poorly-managed or technologically inept company. If email is an integral part of your daily work life, I would advise you to be wary of a company that does not provide its employees this very basic communication tool.
Don't use a personal account
In the event that your employer does not provide you with a corporate email address, you should not feel compelled to conduct business through your personal email account. If email is an important part of your job, it behooves you to create a new email account on a free platform (such as Gmail or Yahoo) that is specifically used for work. This ensures that you are able to keep your personal and work lives separate.
Don't use work email for personal reasons
Similarly, I would strongly advise you against using your work email for personal communications. While some companies expressly forbid it, it is really not a good practice to follow. We have all become very much accustomed to checking multiple email accounts so it should not be difficult to add a new corporate account into the rotation. Additionally, with job promiscuity on the rise, there is a good chance that you will go through multiple employers in your career and migrating any personal content from your corporate email accounts may not be possible. I have some friends for whom I have a half-dozen email addresses. Don't be that guy. Keep your private life outside of your professional domain.
Expectation of privacy
Many people are still concerned with the issue of email privacy in today's corporate world. Larger companies will often have published IT policies that outline the access restrictions that their IT staff have put in place. In the overwhelming majority of cases, no one within a corporate organization will have access to your personal mailbox (unless it is expressly demanded). Having said that (and not to sound paranoid), it is rarely a good idea to use your work email account to send or receive any personal messages or anything that may be considered a conflict of interest. For instance, if you are looking for a new job, it is best to communicate with potential employers via a personal mailbox.
It is easy to forget that a corporate email account does not, technically, belong to you. The information that is contained within your account constitutes valuable intellectual information that is the property of your employer. As such, you should always be careful about what kind of information you are transmitting via this account. Should your employer suspect you of any form of abuse of violation of company practices, your account rights can be revoked and that information can be easily retrieved. Abuse of an email system can, in some cases, be grounds for termination.
While you may feel that this article was written for a pre-Millennial audience, I can assure that these are concerns that persist throughout all kinds of modern companies. It is unlikely that any of us received any formal training about how to use a corporate email account; as such, there are still large groups of people who are not using their work email accounts to their benefit. Furthermore, some companies continue to eschew the need for it. In such cases, there really is no excuse. The cost of establishing a corporate email system has never been lower and the benefits for implementing such a system are incalculable.