Are your employee monitoring practices invading your employees’ privacy?
As an employer, there is a very fine line between safeguarding your bottom line and your team’s privacy. With the increase in technological innovations and the ongoing health crisis, employee monitoring technology is continuing to rise.
Work from home culture is a new reality, and employers who used to monitor their employees’ work in person on a day to day life have now been adjusting to managing them remotely.
However, it’s not easy to switch suddenly to some technology and be comfortable about it. But the possibility of using technology as eyes and ears for tracking employee activities is understandably enticing.
Most of the companies started implementing technologies to track the activities of employees even before the outbreak of COVID-19. According to a survey held in 2018, about 50% of the organizations were monitoring their employees using non-traditional ways.
Obviously, the techniques have evolved so much, and now it has become much more than time-sheets and bio-metric data. The approach today varies from analyzing employee details and social media access to checking system screenshots and app usage.
This trend got accelerated when the mass shift to remote working happened in April. Employee monitoring software providers claim that the demand for their products has surged drastically during this pandemic and almost got tripled.
How do employees get monitored?
Thanks to modern technology, employers can monitor all the activities of their employees, including the applications they are using, whom they are chatting online, and what they are saying.
EmpMonitor- a robust productivity tracking software can even capture the screenshots of the employees’ system, records the keystrokes, internet usages, browsing history, online searches, and many other things which are manually not possible.
Due to these advanced features, the demand for employee monitoring solutions is on the rise and is predicted to increase in the coming future.
Why should employees get monitored?
The ongoing business needs drive organizations to look for employee monitoring in dealing with the workplace-related issues. Organizations often face challenges regarding employee productivity, especially when they are out of sight.
Therefore, to know whether they are using the office resources properly and spending their working hours productively, it is very important to keep track of employees’ work.
Basically, the aim of monitoring employees is to improve business productivity. When employees know that somebody is watching their work-related activities, they tend to pay more attention to their work.
Also, productivity and presence is not the only reason businesses use tracking tools. They are also being used to safeguard the expensive office resources and prevent the company from unexpected loss.
Some monitoring software also provides prevention of data loss (DLP) and other protection tools that help prevent both unintentional and intentional leakage of sensitive business data, which is very important for businesses to take care these days.
Is employee monitoring legal?
In most jurisdictions employee monitoring technology is legal. Yet in some countries, employers need to take consent. Though there are certain limitations when it comes to implementing employee monitoring technology at workplaces. But it is not something that is completely illegal.
If employees are working on an employer-provided system, then it’s the property of the employer, so they have the right to watch their computer activities, read their workplace communication, and in some cases, personal messages too.
But, one thing that is important and is rightful to employees as well is letting them know that your organization is using such technology and also keeping them informed about what all things will be monitored and how data can be used, in which circumstances.
When employees are aware of your procedure, they will not feel offended for being monitored and work accordingly.
Productivity or privacy?
Using employee monitoring systems at workplaces is definitely not illegal or not responsible for invading employees’ privacy unless you implement it in the right way.
It’s not about using employee monitoring technology, it’s all about implementing it correctly. Gain the trust of your employees by making them aware of your monitoring process and also trust your employees for their work. There is a huge difference between micromanagement and tracking the productivity of your employees.
Using employee monitoring software to control your employees’ work is not the right practice. Instead, set them free and use the software features for the right reasons. That is for evaluating the results and their overall engagement in the work-related activities.
When you use the monitored data wisely, for the betterment of employees and their productivity, then you will see how your business productivity will boost without putting in so much effort.
Transparency helps to avoid privacy concerns
Companies that introduce monitoring systems to their employees after implementation often face push-back from employees, especially the industries that have councils and trade unions.
Therefore, to avoid privacy concerns, it’s better to implement monitoring systems in your workplace with complete transparency. Informing employees on a prior basis about such a program gives you a chance to explain to them why it is being introduced to the company.
It is very important to elucidate the usefulness and significance of employee monitoring solutions to your employees as no one likes to feel deceived or micromanaged. By explaining the program you can tell them that it’s not just beneficial to the company but also to them.
Monitoring systems are also ideally designed for incentive programs. Employees will be ensured that their efforts will be appreciated and rewarded as their performance is constantly monitored by the respective team. This means, when employees know that their work is being monitored and recognized, then they might feel motivated and try to work harder.
Contrary to the common belief, employee monitoring is not only a deceptive approach to catch unproductive activities in the workplace. After the initial adjustments, monitoring applications can be used to identify the employees that are doing right but not able to achieve the goals. It can be used to remove roadblocks and improve employees’ performance.
Being transparent to your employees about the monitoring program is a great approach for your company as well as the workforce.