I run a small company that does a lot of business in Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia. Our work is communications-intensive and we spend a lot of money on it. Since we started using the Internet just over one year ago, we have reduced our IDD phone costs drastically, but thanks to the ease of using e-mail we actually communicate more. This is not necessarily saving on time. How can I use technologies like the Internet to save more money but not waste time? ALFRED SAMS San Po Kong Like all office tools, the Internet can be abused and cost your company money and lost productivity. User guidelines and office rules are essential. We do not have enough space to answer your question in as much detail as I would like. Instead, the most common points will do. Use e-mail to replace IDD faxing, telephone calls and snail mail, of course, where possible. Where faxing and voice conversations are necessary, use Net-based technology. This is easier to implement with overseas branch offices and regular business partners. Remember that a document attached to an e-mail often will work as well if not better than a fax. Ban use of Net resources for personal reasons. Some employers stop staff 'wasting time' doing personal e-mail by maintaining a policy that allows the boss access to all staff e-mail. It is not nice for an employee's self-respect, but it is effective. Insist Web use be for the office only. You can invest in white-list software that will allow staff to access specific sites only, or have Web browsers only on machines that are 'public' and easily able to be monitored. There are other methods but, as with the above, you will need to invest time and money to implement them. You have to decide whether to maintain a free or authoritarian office Internet regime. In my company, I prefer the former, trusting to staff common sense and honesty after my most important guidelines are spelled out. E-mail Larry Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or write c/o Technology Post, 28th floor, Dorset House, Taikoo Place, 979 King's Road, Quarry Bay. Fax 2565 1624.