Employee monitoring software: is it illegal?

Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring

The first question one might ponder is: “Is it illegal to monitor employees’ computers?” The issue of employee monitoring has become a bit of a contested topic in recent years. Many employees complain about their privacy and do not enjoy having their employer breathing down their necks; however, at the same time employers need to ensure that no malpractice or fraud is going on. Because employees often use devices and e-mail accounts that belong to the company, the law usually will side with the employer. 

However, in the event that the employee is using his own personal social media or personal email account, monitoring employee emails or private messages would be an illegal infringement of the employee’s privacy. Employee monitoring ethics go beyond that too. Since employees are not allowed to use their own devices in the workplace, they use these same devices during their breaks and not all people want their employers to know what they are doing on their personal time and what interests they have. Employers already like to monitor employee internet usage and go on their employees’ Facebook pages to judge them. And employees like to be able to engage in their own hobbies and enjoy themselves legally without it reflecting on their ability to move up the career ladder. 

Meanwhile, employers have a lot to gain, because there are well-backed theories about employees’ performance ability based on their personal qualities which employees otherwise normally try to mask. On employees’ part, it might be good advice for them to make all their social media accounts completely private or, better yet, not have social media accounts in the first place. We also don’t want to have to deal with pesky advertisers.

There is more to gain for the employer from monitoring what goes on on his accounts and computers, however – employees in fact spend a shocking amount of time typically on social media and sitting inactive. Thus, technology has given employers a form of employee monitoring that goes far beyond lurking behind their computers. 

How to Monitor Employees That Work Remotely

With the recent worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have been faced with a challenge that they are not ready for. Many companies are asking their employees to work from home now to observe social distancing norms; however, they are failing to efficiently track them. The difference between remote employee monitoring and monitoring in the workplace is that employees can be tempted much more easily to watch television or visit with the kids while sitting at home. It’s also harder for most employers to motivate and keep their employees on track when they’re located a greater distance away. 

Remote Employee Monitoring

So how does one monitor his employees who are a great distance away? And, for that matter, how do you monitor your own performance levels to grade your own performance? Fortunately, thanks to the development of handy employee computer monitoring software, employers do have options when it comes to tracking when their employees are doing what they’re supposed to do, when they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing, and how well they are performing. 

Types of Employee Monitoring

There are numerous, wonderful benefits to remote employee monitoring software, which works just as well regardless of where the employee is. If an employee is distracted, it will be detected on his account how long he remained inactive; meanwhile good employees can stand out based on how desirable their activity is when they are in fact active. This will help to quickly weed out the unproductive employees.

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