Five things to know about employee monitoring

Employee monitoring is becoming increasingly popular in modern workplaces, especially in post-pandemic hybrid work environments. 

As companies seek to improve productivity, efficiency, and security, it’s no wonder that monitoring technology has become predominant. However, there are some important things that employers and employees should know about this practice. 

In this article, we will discuss five things you should know about employee monitoring, so you can see if it’s right for your business.

What is employee monitoring? 

Employee monitoring refers to the practice of tracking and observing employees’ activities while they are on the job. This can include using an employee tracker to monitor their computer use, email and internet activity, phone calls, and even their GPS location. 

Employee monitoring can take place both on personal and company-owned computers. The purpose is to ensure that employees are following company policies and procedures and to identify any potential security threats or issues.

Is employee monitoring legal?

It’s important to note that employee monitoring is legal in most jurisdictions, but there are some limitations to what employers can and cannot do. 

In some cases, employers are required to inform employees of any monitoring practices and obtain their consent. For example, if an employee uses their personal computer for work, employers must gain consent to use the software and offer strict limitations to their monitoring periods. In essence, set working hours.

Additionally, some monitoring types, such as private conversations, may be illegal in certain jurisdictions.

The benefits of employee monitoring

There are several benefits to employee monitoring that business owners consider valuable. Some of the most notable include:

  • Improved productivity – When employees know they are being monitored, they are more likely to stay on task.
  • Improved cybersecurity – Monitoring can help proactively identify potential security threats such as data breaches or theft.
  • Identify training needs – Employee monitoring can help managers identify areas where employees may need additional training or support to improve their performance.
  • Compliance monitoring – Compliance training for new employees ensures that they are following company policies and procedures.

Many managers find this technology useful in a remote and hybrid work environment where productivity and engagement are a concern.

The disadvantages of employee monitoring

While the pros of employee monitoring typically outweigh the cons, it’s important to understand the drawbacks to make an informed decision. Some downsides of employee monitoring include the following:

  • Invasion of privacy – Employees may feel that their privacy is being invaded, which can lead to decreased morale and job satisfaction.
  • Decreased trust – Monitoring can lead to mistrust between employees and management, which can negatively impact workplace relationships.
  • Inability to identify root issues: Monitoring may not accurately represent an employee’s work or behavior, or limit management from addressing underlying issues impacting productivity and morale.

Using monitoring tools can feel like micromanaging. It’s important for employers to understand the fine line between productivity and overwhelm — everyone needs downtime to produce their best work.

How to successfully implement employee monitoring?

The best practice for implementing employee monitoring is to be transparent. Tell your employees they’re being monitored (unless you suspect illicit or illegal activity) and help them understand why. Engage them in tracking their productivity and finding room for improvement.

Use these key considerations to determine if employee monitoring is right for your business.