Nowadays, employee monitoring is slowly but surely becoming the new norm for businesses all around the world. And while the practice of monitoring employee productivity and performance has been around for quite some time, the methods have changed drastically in the last few years, with the introduction of comprehensive employee monitoring software.
These monitoring tools collect detailed information on how employees spend their working hours: when they start and finish working for the day, how many breaks they take and for how long, how much time they spend in certain applications, in what ways and for how long they use the Internet, how actively they communicate with their colleagues through various digital communication channels, whether they display signs of rudeness in communicating with clients, etc. These monitoring solutions also generate numerous reports on each employee, which can then be used by managers to determine exactly how effective and productive each employee is during their billable hours.
And while you may absolutely recognize the necessity of workplace monitoring, you should also be prepared to answer any questions your employees have regarding the use of the monitoring tools.
In this article, we’ve decided to compile a list of 20 most common questions employees tend to have about workplace monitoring. We’ve also took the time to answer each of them so that you can better explain to your employees how the workplace monitoring works in general and how it’s used in your company in particular.
Here are the questions employees tend to have most frequently when the practice of employee monitoring is introduced in the company:
Why does my employer want to monitor me?
There are numerous pros when it comes to introducing employee monitoring practices in the company. It is important to monitor employees, because it helps improve their productivity, optimize project management, strengthen data security, and detect any malicious behavior to name a few.
Is employee monitoring legal?
In short, this depends on the country where the company resides. While in most countries the use of employee monitoring software is legal, certain requirements of using employee monitoring software should be met.
In some countries, businesses are obliged to notify their employees about the implementation of monitoring tools. As a rule of thumb, it is always better to consult with a legal team before taking any action regarding employee monitoring.
When it comes to the US, for example, there are no federal laws that forbid private companies from monitoring their employees. After all, an employer has the right to know to a reasonable extent if their employees are doing what they’re supposed to be doing during billable hours.
At the state level, things are very similar. Unless your company is based in Connecticut or Delaware, of course, in which case managers must reveal to their employees that they’re being monitored.
What if I don’t sign the papers confirming my consent concerning the monitoring?
In cases like this, Labor Code will be your best bet, since often, employees are not obliged to sign any additional documents that aren’t covered by the Labor Code.
However, it really depends on the situation. After all, the employer can put the signing of the necessary consent forms as a prerequisite for employment.
How can I find out if I’m being monitored?
There are quite a few ways you as an employee can detect monitoring software on your computer.
In most cases, a special agent, which collects information about the user, gets installed on the employee’s PC. Often, it is visible in the list of installed applications; however, experienced system administrators know how to get around this way of finding out whether one’s computer is being monitored.
Can my employer implement covert monitoring?
Yes, they can.
If you have concerns about a certain company-owned device being monitored, the employer has the technical ability and the rights to covertly install monitoring software and conduct necessary surveillance.
However, if the device in question belongs to you, it is rather improbable that your employer covertly monitors you considering how the technology works. They would need to get access to your device when it’s out of your reach and install the necessary software without you noticing it.
What can my employer see during the monitoring?
Monitoring solutions collect various types of data. For example, they can track the amount of time users spend in various applications, record their browser history, look through work e-mails and chats.
How can my employer use the collected data against me?
Essentially, employers are legally allowed to use the data collected by the employee monitoring software only in their interactions with the employees. For example, collected data can help managers understand whether a certain employee carries out their work duties efficiently or if they’re actually slacking during working hours. Gathered data can also help in determining whether the preset productivity plans are too high and if perhaps the workload should be redistributed more evenly.
How can I trick employee monitoring software?
While it might sound bizarre, workers have been coming up with a plethora of different ways to keep their computers from going into idle mode. From a trick with placing the optical mouse on a wristwatch and a keyboard trick to faking productivity by connecting to several employees’ computers through TeamViewer – the possibilities truly seem to be endless.
However, you should keep in mind that most monitoring solutions have advanced over the course of its use. For example, the solutions now have the features to capture screenshots or record videos of employees’ screens, thus highlighting what employees are actually busy doing.
Can my employer monitor my work PC?
Yes, they can.
Legally speaking, company-owned devices are considered company property, so your employers have the right to monitor them.
Can my work laptop be monitored at home?
Yes, it can. Once again, since it is considered company property, your employer is in a position to monitor your work computer if, let’s say, you work from home.
And since the number of employees working remotely has been steadily increasing over the last few years, it is understandable that the demand for remote employee monitoring software has been growing as well.
Can my employer record my phone conversations?
Yes, they can.
Employers have the right to make audio recordings within the workplace, utilizing company-owned computers, laptops or phones for this matter.
If the device in question is yours, it’s highly unlikely that your employers will have the ability to implement software needed to create audio recordings on it without your knowledge.
However, if your employer has provided you with a device designated for work purposes only, say, a company-issued phone, it’s possible that they have the ability to monitor or listen to calls made from said phone. That’s why it is better to not make any private or confidential phone calls from your work devices.
Can my employer monitor me from a work computer through a camera?
Yes, they can.
Even though this isn’t a common practice, employers aren’t prohibited from monitoring their specialists from workplace computers through a built-in camera by installing a dedicated monitoring solutions on it in advance.
What can my employer see on my personal phone?
Nothing. Your employer doesn’t have the right to spy on your personal phone.
In order to be able to monitor your personal phone, the employer must first obtain access to it. Moreover, monitoring of personal devices is not allowed without receiving your consent prior to such monitoring.
Can my employer look at my Internet activity on my personal phone?
No, they can’t (unless your personal phone is connected to the company’s WIFI).
If your phone is indeed connected to the company’s WIFI, the risk that your Internet traffic is monitored is still not very high. However, keep in mind that it can be done, at least to the level of monitoring the IP addresses you use.
Can my employer see where I’m working from?
Yes, they can (if you’re using a company-owned device for your work).
Like we’ve discussed earlier, employers aren’t prohibited from GPS tracking company property, which can include company-owned computers, laptops, phones, etc.
Can my employer see what I do on my personal laptop when I’m connected to the company’s WIFI?
It really depends.
Your employer cannot monitor what you do on your personal laptop even when you use the company’s WIFI, since it is your personal device.
At the same time, your employer can track what websites you visit while connected to the corporate WIFI. Only the URLs will be visible in this case, not the content of the websites or the passwords you enter. Moreover, data tends to be encrypted using HTTPS and TLS protocols, which does protect your sensitive information.
Can my employer monitor my direct Teams messages?
Yes, they can.
If you have Teams running on the company’s computer, employers can monitor your direct messages. For example, if your employer uses the monitoring software that has a keylogger feature (keystroke logging), then yes, your direct Teams messages will be recorded as well. Otherwise, your Teams communication privacy tends to be protected.
Can my employer monitor my personal accounts?
Yes, they can.
As we’ve explained above, everything you open on the workplace computers can be monitored. It usually happens when the screen video recording or the keystroke logging features of the employee monitoring software are being utilized.
Can my employer see my personal passwords?
Yes, they can.
Once again, if the passwords are used on company-owned computers or in Terminal sessions, employers can potentially monitor such information, too.
We want to stress it once more that when it comes to workplace monitoring, employers have the right to execute monitoring of company’s computers, phones and other company-owned devices.
When you use your password on your personal device, your employer cannot monitor your passwords without first obtaining access to said device.
Are there any advantages to me being monitored?
Yes, there are.
The introduction of monitoring software can truly become a great opportunity to objectively show to the managers that you are a valuable employee.
It can also help with moving up the career ladder, since in case a promotion becomes available, you will be the best candidate and you will have the hard data to back it up. All that’s left to do is simply to work well. After all, if you want a career, now seems to be the time to let specialized software collect data about your work.
As a way to bid our goodbye, we want to note that most employees’ concerns we’ve covered in today’s article can be avoided with the properly chosen monitoring software that will suit the specific needs of each company.
Kickidler Employee Monitoring Software
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