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Inappropriate images, job applications and slanderous messages about colleagues

Research reveals the horrors that employees might be hiding in their inbox

Halloween is just around the corner, but the real fright this year might be in your employees’ email inboxes! In fact, according to new research from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, four in ten employers (44.9%) have busted their employees for having unacceptable messages in their work inbox.

The survey of 300 employers from across the UK asked respondents which types of email they believe are unacceptable to have in your work inbox, with the findings revealing the following:

  • Inappropriate images (72.1%)
  • Talking negatively about colleagues (56.4%)
  • Job applications to other employers (48.5%)
  • Flirty emails with colleagues (33.8%)
  • Complaining about your job (31.9%)
  • Talking negatively about your boss (25.5%)
  • Online shopping orders (11.3%)
  • Personal emails to friends and family (7.8%)

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, comments: “Your employees would have to be pretty brave to let any of these emails sit in their work inbox. In an increasingly digitalised world, we can’t afford to become complacent about what we’re sending over email. Professional conduct in the workplace is just as important online as it is offline. 

“You have every right to discipline your employees if you find them sending any of these horrors. Take action before the email causes serious damage to your company’s professional reputation, as these have a habit of coming to light in nasty ways.”

Interestingly, these types of email were perceived differently from industry to industry. Inappropriate images were most offensive to the public sector (90.9%), while emails talking negatively about colleagues were rated as most unacceptable in the legal industry (69.2%). The full breakdown is below:

  • Inappropriate images – Public Sector (90.9%)
  • Talking negatively about colleagues – Legal (69.2%)
  • Job applications to other employers – Education (68.8%)
  • Flirty emails with colleagues – Accounting (44.7%)
  • Complaining about your job – Charity (50%)
  • Talking negatively about boss – Social Care (45.8%)
  • Online shopping orders – Distribution (18.5%)
  • Personal emails to friends and family – Design and media (both 25%)

Biggins continues: “No matter what industry your company operates in, you shouldn’t tolerate these emails as it reflects badly on your company. Once an employee breaks your trust, issue a written warning and make it clear it can’t happen again. If it continues to happen, however, strict measures such as suspension or termination may be the only course of action.”

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