After the breakout of COVID-19, we have been working from home, since Mar 2019. I use my work laptop from home to carry out my work activities. Most of the time, I work outside my normal working hours (9-5). This is mostly due to meetings that I have with folks who work from Europe and the US.
I also work on weekends if the project I'm working on is interesting (which is like most of the time)

I listen to YouTube or watch YouTube videos from my work laptop. But this, in no way has affected in meeting my timelines (Please don't ask me how I know that. I just know). Just that, I have to sit in front of my computer for extended periods of time - pushes me into boredom and hence the YouTube/Spotify listening habit. Plus, I don't have to do any workaround to get to YouTube/Spotify, then just work fine even with the VPN connection ON.

Will it reflect badly upon me, if there is some sort of IT audit on how the office laptop is being used or will my employer (2000+ employees) understand? I don't know if this commonly accepted in other countries. I really like what I'm doing and my workplace and do not want to screw-up with petty things

Related question
I also read this question which could be related to my question - but this one is like taking the equipment out on vacation, which is not what I'm asking

  • are you literally asking if you can use youtube on your laptop? That is, as far as i can tell, in your possession? Also, i'm confused why you claim that you're pushed to boredom BUT ALSO working for free on weekends because it is so exciting? But this is a very specific company-regulation question, so it should be closed. But generally you are fine. Nobody cares.
    – bharal
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 2:37
  • Many a time you are just waiting for a meeting to start or a code to compile.... That's when you got nothing else to do. Hence boredom.
    – Prasanna
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 6:14
  • 2
    As to your question. What is the company policy on using work equipment for personal use? The response of your company if found out will depend on that. Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 9:37
  • 1
    Why oh why wouldn't you just use your OWN computer for this. OF COURSE don't do that on a company laptop. For goodness sake - it's $100 for a chromebook to watch youtube.
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 14:21
  • 1
    My philosophy is: work laptop, strictly work stuff. If you wanna do personal stuff, at least for me, I have the personal laptop right by it for that kind of stuff.
    – Daveguy
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 4:47

4 Answers 4


Will it reflect badly upon me, if there is some sought of IT audit on how the office laptop is being used or will my employer (2000+ employees) understand?

If found out then likely yes. But at the very same time those rules are almost never enforced unless you are working in some heightened security environment. Simply put those rules exist to be a catch-all for when they are needed, but are rarely enforced, usually operating on "don't ask, don't tell", at least until someone complains.

Best to use company gear for just company use, but realistically no one will crucify over a bit of YouTube or Spotify, unless they need an excuse.


Ask the company.

In my personal situation, I have a powerful private desktop computer, and a company laptop with an extra monitor, and I cannot use my private computer because there is no space to have both on my desk. Which is a desk that my company didn't pay for, in my office that the company didn't pay for.

So my company doesn't mind personal use (as long as it's not too personal, and as long as I keep security in mind), and if they did, we might need a discussion.

  • Same is my case. I don't want to start another laptop just for music. May be I should think of using mobile phone for video or music
    – Prasanna
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 14:30
  • Should make some changes to your home office in the interests of convenience and comfort perhaps? Unless you have size constraints
    – Kilisi
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 8:34

It's not normal for an IT audit to target this unless for a specific reason so you don't need to worry unduly. BUT it's a bad idea to use the company VPN to access these sites. That is asking for attention and if taken to task over it, boredom is not a reasonable excuse. So stop doing it.

I work with some high security companies and just have two machines on my desk, sometimes 3 or 4. One is a personal one on which I do personal stuff, any others are purely work.

  • agreed. don't use the company vpn.
    – bharal
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 15:03

See company policy - especially if those youtube videos are porn...

Many IT policies make that a dismissable offence.

Best scenario use work laptop for work and personal laptop for personal. This has been suggested in other answers on here.

  • It's just music or science channel. Not porn.
    – Prasanna
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 6:12
  • @Prasanna - for goodness sake. Just open one of your other laptops, your own laptops, to watch youtube. It's $100 for a chromebook if your other laptops are broken or something. It is RIDICULOUS to take a chance like this - why ?!?!
    – Fattie
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 14:22
  • Did not know there was porn on YouTube - now I am going to have to do a search (on my home computer). But then again the URL will be youbube.com/...
    – Ed Heal
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 18:49

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