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Use of Computers at Work for Non-Work Purposes

Managers sometimes struggle with employees spending working time on non-work internet activity.  It is a dilemma.  We don’t want to constantly monitor employee computer use. At the same time, for employees who are spending large amounts of time surfing the net, emailing, or exchanging messages and pictures with friends, it seems that something must be done.  What is the right balance?  Are there actions or rules and regulations that can achieve the right balance?

The Double-Edged Sword of Email

We say here at Rensselaer that Ray Tomlinson, class of ’63, initiated the use of email. At the very least, he invented the “@” symbol to connect a user name with an electronic address.  Previously, I wrote about email addiction and stress. Are these features necessary collateral damage in modern life because email is too important to ignore?  I answer a qualified yes – for all of our complaints, where would we be without its blessings and curses?

The Academic Long Hours Two Step

Higher education as a culture promotes taxing, grinding, self-sacrificing work. Right from the beginning, assistant professors in research universities obsess over, and get highly stressed by, the need to apply for tenure during their sixth year.  Success brings close to life-time employment; those who fail must leave. 


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