Due to the increase in litigation in this country and paranoia in general, the corporate world is tightening up their company security. If your boss is spying on you while at work, you probably wouldn’t know it, and you won’t know if your privacy rights have been violated. Regardless, here are six tips to help you maintain your privacy at work, regardless of whether or not your boss is spying on you.
1. Watch the Company Credit Card
If you’ve been given a company credit card for use while traveling or purchasing corporate equipment, make sure you use it for work-related purposes only. You don’t want your boss knowing that type of condoms you buy or how often you stop at Taco Bell on your way home from work—plus, you could get in trouble. If you’re making company and personal purchases at the same time, maintain your privacy by having the cashier ring each up separately.
2. Lock Your Desk Drawers—And Your Computer
If your boss stays after you leave work, he might be spying on you in more ways than one. Before you leave in the evening, lock all of your desk drawers as well as your computer. In most cases, you can set your desktop computer so that you have to enter a password to access your documents, which is the safest way to go if you want to maintain your privacy at work. You should also take any personal belongings with you if you’re worried.
3. Pay Bills at Home
This probably won’t be a big deal even if your boss is spying on you, but it’s hard to maintain your privacy at work when your utility bill is out on your desk. Rather than bringing your checkbook and bills with you to work, save those activities for the evenings and weekends in the privacy of your home. There is little more personal than your credit card statements and cable bills.
4. Disable Cookies
If possible, disabled the cookies for your work browser to maintain your privacy. This won’t help if your boss is spying on you by accessing your computer remotely—yes, it’s possible!—but it will prevent most attempts at spying. This way, the sites you visit won’t remain in your computer’s memory even after you delete the browser history. Oh, and stay off sensitive Web sites while at work, which will solve the problem altogether.
5. Don’t Blog About Work
Although it worked out all right for Dooce, you can’t know that blogging about work will turn out all right. If you don’t want your boss spying and finding out exactly what you think of him, keep your blog anonymous or avoid discussing work entirely. Employees have been fired for less, and suffered ridicule as well.
6. Keep Passwords Private
Whether for work or personal use, store your passwords in a safe location and don’t tell anyone else what they are. You can avoid quite a bit of privacy issues with this practice, plus it just makes good sense. This way, your boss can’t spy on you, and neither can your coworkers. A locked desk drawer is probably not sufficient, by the way—keep your passwords on your person or in a more obscure location.