Employee Privacy and Workplace Monitoring

With businesses moving towards digital innovations and corporations becoming more technology-intensive, there’s an inevitable need for video surveillance.

Since electronic evidence is gaining precedence over witness accounts and verbal testimony, employers are turning toward electronic monitoring and surveillance as a support for litigation. Since this kind of supervision is unregulated, employees are under observation at all times during work hours. Even though it has combated violation of rules very well, it has raised the concern of privacy among employees.

Despite being told about company policies at the time of recruitment, employees later feel uncomfortable being watched at all times.

Here’s all you need to know about employee privacy and workplace monitoring.

Computers and Workstations

Since the most amount of work in white collar jobs is done on desktops, surveillance of workstations is immensely important. Policies may also clarify any confusion about the ethical boundaries of this practice. Since computers and workstations are company property, the company has complete authority over using it any way it wants which includes monitoring the tasks performed around and on it. Innovations in technology have allowed employers to supervise everything from each move the cursor makes to every file transfer conducted from the office PC. They can install software to monitor files stored in hard disks and computer terminals in the employee’s use. They can also keep track of the time each worker spends away from their workstation and record it as their work performance.

Emails and Messaging

Most offices employ official messaging softwares which allow employees to interact within themselves and the management without getting up from their seats. This minimizes time wastage and makes communication more effective. 72% employers have access to conversations on internal systems between co-workers.

Even though the policy handbook is required to state all these rules in black and white, employees are liable to be monitored with or without prior notice over such platforms. Anything—such as official emails and the company’s system of communication—that is owned by the company can be monitored by the owner i.e. the employer.

Employee Privacy

The issue of privacy arises when employers threaten to take video or audio recordings to court if need be. This concerns employees because they feel exploited and cheated for being observed without their consent.

Employees may also be bothered by the fact that they’re not always in their best form during work hours and being seen that way makes them vulnerable to public scrutiny. Studies have shown that 90% employees were more comfortable with being recorded if they were assured it was for official purposes.

It’s best to cooperate with employees rather than work against them. Employers can adopt a more transparent approach that allows employees to be mentally prepared to be supervised at all times. An effective way to deal with this issue is to remind employees about rules of supervision so that they keep their actions in check and the system progresses seamlessly.

In order to monitor workplace activities more successfully, here are a few tips for employers:

  • Set internet usage rules
  • Make monitoring explicit
  • Install reminders about surveillance around the workplace
  • Block unwarranted websites
  • Don’t issue warnings if there’s no effect on productivity

Are you looking for a security provider to install a video surveillance facility at your workplace?

Guardmore is a security service provider in Edmonton offering excellent video surveillance and military-trained guard services to monitor your employees at all times. We provide full-service protection to organizations by enabling round-the-clock surveillance. If you require our services, contact us here.

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