I'm not worried about the occasional times when your spouse asks you to pick up items on the way home. I'm more concerned about people who use their company email account for correspondences such as job hunting, web postings, chain letters, newsletters, online ordering, file sharing and so on.
Some employees use the corporate account because of the faster speed. Others use their business account because they don't know how to access their personal one remotely. And some people have never bothered to get a personal account since they don't have a computer at home. Regardless of the reason, you should separate your work emails from your personal emails.
Legal issues may not be the only reason your company needs to access your email. Recently, I had lunch with some friends which included some system administrators. Each was telling tales about their co-workers. One was bemoaning how he has to check the corporate spam filter daily to make sure the presidents emails weren't being blocked. Another was complaining that his employees were using huge amounts of disk space for personal attachments. A third reminded me of a friend who mistook a corporate distribution list address for that of a friend when he sent a very personal email.
None of these people wanted to look at their co-workers emails, but needed to while resolving some system issue. You may want to read your company's email policy as they may allow other people to read or monitor your email aside from support personnel. Some email policies also prohibit the sending of MP3 or video files because of copyright issues.
Another reason to separate the emails is to reduce distraction. Email is a big distraction because of the frequency. No sooner have you finished reading one email, several more have arrived and you feel compelled to see who the message is from and the subject. By having a separate personal account, you can deal with these emails at a better time such as a break or after work.
Getting a Free Personal Email Account
If you don't have a personal email account, there are many free providers of web-based email. Some good examples include Yahoo!, Hotmail, and Google. (Google is still in beta and you either need an invitation or a US cell phone that can receive SMS messages to get an account.) Each provides ample storage space with virus and spam filtering. The feature sets differ among the vendors, but all provide a robust offering including filtering for viruses and spam.
Accessing Personal Email from Other Locations
One of the appeals of web-based email is you can access it from just about any computer, even your work one. You may also find your Internet provider offers web access to your email.
If your provider doesn't offer web access, you can probably use a web-based email retrieval services such as mail2web . Mail2web offers an easy web interface where you enter your email address and password. They take care of the server settings so you don't have to remember POP3, IMAP4 or SMTP server names. Your information is never permanently stored on their systems unless you create a customized home page.
So, the next time you need to take a work break, head out to the web to read or send your personal email. While using these online systems, look for the secure login links. This offers an extra protection. Aside from saving your company system resources, you may be protecting your job.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 15 September 2009 03:31)