Most of us are probably aware at this point that certain searches or other activities are frowned upon at work – and also that whatever you do and wherever you go on a work device, there’s a way to track it.

Which is why you’re probably thinking that you’ve already got this down pat, and surely you’re not doing anything on your work computer that you shouldn’t be…but just to be sure, maybe you’d better scroll through the tips below.

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First – and this may seem like a no-brainer – you should assume that you’re always being monitored, even if for most of us, the checks are likely more sporadic in nature.

Your employer has access to every email, every folder (personal or otherwise), all of your browsing history, your social media activity, etc, and so you need to remember the computer isn’t yours, it’s theirs, and act accordingly.

So, here’s what you should stop doing on that work laptop if you haven’t already:

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#6. Don’t save personal passwords.

If you’re used to storing private information like passwords in keychains, don’t do it on your corporate laptop. They could be wiped out at any time, and without warning.

#5. Don’t scroll through social media.

Whether it’s Twitter or the next episode of Ted Lasso, anything that can be viewed as unproductive during work hours is a no-go.

#4. Be careful what you say on Slack.

If your boss wants to check in on your employee Slack channel, they can – so don’t say anything off-color, rude, or just weird that you don’t want them to see.

#3. Don’t go out job hunting.

They can see all of the websites you browse, so keep your time on LinkedIn and other job-hunting websites for after hours browsing only.

#2. Don’t work your side hustle.

HR could easily flag you as working for something else on the company’s dime, and no one wants to deal with that conversation.

#1. Don’t try to remove the monitoring software.

It might be tempting to just remove the software – and I do love a good resistance effort – but this would only call attention to yourself and result in questions you most likely would rather not answer.


And here are a few things you should start doing, if they’re not already part of your daily routine:

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#5. Shut your computer down at the end of the day.

It will let your employer know when you’ve clocked out, and also it will stop you from grabbing the wrong laptop for your personal use.

#4. Cover your webcam when you’re not using it.

I think this is good practice in general, and so there’s no reason to leave your camera available unless you’re scheduled to be on it for a work-related purpose.

#3. Do your best not to be overheard.

Here’s a tip from Reddit: “But sh**ty headphones with a mic and cut the cable. Plug that into your laptop. You could also get your own headset with a hardware mute button and leave it muted until you need to speak.”

#2. Type frequently.

Your computer records the time you’re “working” during the day by how often your cursor is actually moving across the screen.

#1. Make sure your connection is secure.

Protect your and your employer’s data by making sure you’re logged into a secure, password-protected internet connection.

If you’re working in public, never leave your computer alone or your screen visible to others, especially if you deal with sensitive information.


The bottom line is that every time you’re on that work computer you’re compiling data that your company can use either to praise you or to fire you down the line, so don’t give them a reason to do the latter.

You’re welcome, and good luck out there in this brave new world.