At Work

Does Employee Monitoring Kill Privacy?

As employee monitoring has become more and more commonplace, it has become an increasingly contentious issue. The main objection that people have to it is that it intrudes on the privacy of employees.

The reason why employees may be concerned is easy to see. Modern-day employee monitoring software is able to track virtually everything, including internet searches, emails, messages, apps, and even location.

But at the same time it is just as easy to see why companies view employee monitoring as a necessity. The threat and potential damage of data breaches is one of the main reasons monitoring software is gaining popularity. On top of that many companies use it as a tool to improve productivity.

“Is it Legal?”

The first question people often have in face of employee monitoring is: Is it actually legal?

And the short answer to that is: Yes it is.

Although there are certain caveats involved, in most jurisdictions employers actually have the right to monitor their employees’ activity and look into anything created on the job using company equipment. Simply put, technically employees don’t have much right to privacy in the workplace.

In other words, if you were to use WorkExaminer and install it on company PCs, you could use it as a legal computer screen monitoring software. It would let you capture screenshots, log keystrokes, look at emails and messages, go over browser activity, and a whole lot more.

But although it is legal, the fact that it can be viewed as a privacy intrusion does have other implications.

“How Much is Too Much?”

Although legal, if employees feel that they have absolutely no privacy it can be detrimental. It can lower morale, add stress, and could even cause employees to lose trust in their employers.

Seeing as you probably don’t want that, it is important to make sure that the monitoring isn’t too intrusive to the point that employees feel their privacy is being killed. And the best way to do that is by asking key questions:

  • Have we gone too far when monitoring employees? Using WorkExaminer to track trends or identify misuse of company equipment is fine, but intentionally spying on private conversations or emails would be a step too far.
  • Is there a solid set of guidelines in place? Ideally your employees should know how WorkExaminer is being used to monitor them, and why. If their online usage is being tracked, let them know the reason – such as to prevent data breaches.
  • Do employees have a transparent way to communicate and address issues? It would be best if they’re able to be open about their concerns, and know that their employers take them seriously.

In short, it isn’t really a question of whether or not employee monitoring kills privacy. Instead, it depends on how you use it.

If you use it carefully, you can avoid excessively intrusive monitoring that will make employees feel that their privacy is being violated. On the other hand if you do not then you may end up kicking a hornet’s nest.

How to Use WorkExaminer Without Killing Privacy

If your goal is to monitor employees with WorkExaminer, but you don’t want to come off as killing their privacy – what do you do?

That actually isn’t as complicated as you might think, and there are several steps you can take:

  • Make sure there is a good reason for the way you monitor employees. In WorkExaminer there are tons of different ways you can track your employees such as by monitoring whether they are active or idle, finding out what they’re doing, taking screenshots, capturing keystrokes and more. No matter what method you use, you need to have a strong and reasonable goal.
  • Don’t let it cross the line and intrude on your employees. Generally that means that you should try not to use WorkExaminer to read personal emails, Instant Messenger conversations, and so on – unless absolutely necessary. Similarly if you intend to use it as a real time employee watching software, that may be a bit creepy.
  • Come up with a clear policy that details exactly how you’re going to use WorkExaminer to monitor employees, and why. The policy should be easy to understand, and will help to inform your employees about what to expect.
  • Get employees to sign off on your policy. If you can, that will essentially act as proof that they are aware they’re going to be monitored using WorkExaminer, and that they don’t object.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do this all at once. In fact it may be better if you roll out WorkExaminer’s monitoring gradually. For example you could start by tracking active and idle time, then start to expand to track online activity, apps, or other areas.

If you aren’t sure exactly what WorkExaminer is able to do, it will give you free to try for 30 day period. During this time you can put its features to the test, and see exactly how it will let you track and monitor your employees.

All said and done, your goal should be to strike a balance when you use WorkExaminer and find something that is able to benefit your company as well as acceptable to your employees. That may be easier said than done, but it is a goal that is well worth working towards if it helps you avoid the stigma of ‘killing’ privacy.

Lindsay Shearer
Lindsay Shearer is a world renowned SEO Expert, & Lead Generation Specialist & Publication Editor. Her Specialty? Helping entrepreneurs start online businesses, write books, grow traffic & lead conversion, through SEO, Free & Paid Advertising. Check Out More: