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Brush up your office etiquettes or...

Your personal life is no longer yours ? employers are monitoring and judging employees by their conduct in private matters.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 20:02 IST
Monika Adlakha (HT City)
Monika Adlakha (HT City)

You think you have nothing to hide? Still, it would be better to watch what you say in office as your personal life is not yours anymore — you are being watched (and judged) by your employer 24X7.

You can hate it but just can’t escape the fact that your personal details are shaping your employer’s opinion about you and helping him judge your professional capabilities accordingly.

Peeping boss: Confirming it as a growing trend, HR manager Gautam Rastogi says that sexcapades are the prime area of investigation.

“Any adverse tip and your job comes in the line of fire. IT and BPOs are the worst affected in this regard.” Besides regular means of culling information (like reference check, security cameras and colleagues’ feedback), the newer methods being adopted by employers include psychometeric tests, psycho educational seminars and structured tests.

While your family background is not held against you, “family feuds, history of verbal/ physical abuse, broken relationships, etc, do call for a check. And even if all this is not taken as a negative trait, people with clean chit easily get a thumbs up,” states HR executive Poonam Sharma.

 Tips to avoid trouble

Don’t disclose your personal info: The best way to avoid people tattling about your personal life is to keep the details to yourself.

Don’t stay aloof: Even if you don’t like it, mix with your colleagues as that will keep you away from unnecessary suspicion.

Don’t be loud: Don’t overdo your enthusiasm, because if you’re loud you can be considered frivolous and unfit for big projects.

Don’t display your anger: Despite uncooperative colleagues, try to keep your cool as anger will make you lose points with the boss.

Say no to office romance: You can’t help thinking about sexy colleagues but avoid matters of heart at work for your own sake.

Reputations are hard to repair, so keep them clean. And that’s the HR mantra too. Adds Sharma, “We want to ensure that there’s no loss in productivity due to uncalled reasons. Take the example of a girl working in a BPO who was asked to leave on moral grounds. A year later, she is jobless and likely to remain so in this city. In another case, a guy was not given a job as he had a history of verbal abuse.”

HR horror story: For obvious reasons, employees are finding all this a bit unpalatable. “There’s not much personal life left due to stressful jobs and we are being held accountable for the little that remains. My boss should be concerned about work and not my personal life,” asserts Gaurav Jain, a BPO executive.

Psychologists feel that such intrusions can have an adverse effect on the employee. “Once an employee becomes aware of unethical means being used against him, he can get affected personally and professionally,” feels clinical psychologist Megha Hazuria.

Adds psychologist Samir Parikh: “It can be uneasy and suffocating for an individual to be on red alert 24X7.” Too much snooping, say what?

First Published: Sep 06, 2006 16:54 IST