I have installed a computer game on my office machine. After the working hours, I am playing games.

Is this ethically ok? Or am I misusing my freedom in my workplace?

  • 10
    What does your company policy say? Some companies don't care what you install on your work computer. Others simply have rules that you must only install legally obtained software. And others don't let you install any unapproved software at all. If you aren't sure, talk to your manager. Jun 1, 2016 at 13:22
  • Are you working in game journalism or game development where playing games is part of your job?
    – Philipp
    Jun 1, 2016 at 13:40
  • 4
    this begs the qeustion why are you at work after working hours? And is it a legal copy of the game? Jun 1, 2016 at 13:50
  • 1
    @Raoul yes. I do play after working hours. It is not a legal copy. Jun 1, 2016 at 14:11
  • 1
    @CrazyNinja Even the most relaxed rules I've ever seen on personal use of workstations prohibit installing unlicensed software. Jun 1, 2016 at 14:14

3 Answers 3


In most workplaces this would be a big no-no, and probably a terminable offense if you were to be found out.

Your company owns the machine, the software running on it, and has the right to read every file on it. They could legally keep track of every key you push, even so far as storing your personal passwords if you input them on your work machine - most places don't, but they could.

By installing software they're not aware of you're opening the door to potential security threats, or legal liability (is the game pirated, for example?)

Furthermore, it's a game. Most employers will take a very dim view of their employees using their work machines to run video games.

Now, you may work for a very informal, or friendly sort of person who OK's this sort of thing, but the fact that you're asking this question makes me believe that you've done this behind your boss's back, which is never a good idea.

  • 5
    Its worth noting that surveillance of employees on company machines is largely illegal in most of the EU, so there they can't know what websites you visit, and certainly can't know your passwords, without your prior written consent (which can not be used as reason not to hire or as reason to fire). IANAL though
    – Magisch
    Jun 1, 2016 at 13:44
  • "probably a fireable offense" Bit mute since an at will employee can be fired anyways so even if it wasnt they still could. Also the fact that he can install games is a bad Management of his user rights. Jun 1, 2016 at 13:54
  • 4
    @RaoulMensink Stick to your guns man, everyone who posts here is subject to American labor law. Even people from Sri Lanka.
    – Myles
    Jun 1, 2016 at 14:18
  • 2
    @Myles Eh? I'm most definitely not subject to American labour law and I'm pretty sure that many others here are not either...
    – Marv Mills
    Jun 1, 2016 at 16:15
  • 3
    @MarvMills - myles was making a sarcastic comment because Raoul is not accounting for anyone else not working in the US.
    – AndreiROM
    Jun 1, 2016 at 16:56

In situations like this, I find the best rule of thumb is "Am I asking an anonymous internet community or my line manager for clarification of whether is this okay"...

More seriously, unless you have a job where you are simply required to be in your place of work for periods of time in case something happens (like a night guard or something), then you are using work's resources to play computer games. Unless you've explicitly been told that's okay, it probably isn't.

Go ask your manager.

  • Wish I could upvote this 10 times so it was higher than the other answers which make gross assumptions rather than giving the correct answer, which is that this is 100% company-specific (which, of course, is why the question was put on hold). Jun 2, 2016 at 2:05

The phrase "wrong on so many levels" comes to mind.

A place I worked for would fire you for attaching a smart phone to your machine to charge.

Get the game off ASAP and hope they don't already know.

  1. It's misuse of company property
  2. It's introducing unauthorized software to a company machine
  3. It's a breach of trust between you and your manager
  4. It's a security risk
  5. It's setting yourself up to be terminated for any of the above reasons.

Plus, it just plain looks bad. There's a game on your system. Now PROVE you haven't been playing it on company time. You can't. That, my friend is a problem.

When I've been management, I've actually been pretty forgiving about such things, but I'm the exception, not the rule. Most employers will assume you've just been slacking.

Now, even if you've been doing it after work, you are still using company property in an unauthorized fashion. There is no way you look good in this matter.

Get a smart phone and play games on that. Keep the company equipment clean.

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