How employers monitor their employees? We’re pretty certain every person who’s worked in a fairly big company has wondered whether they’re being watched. And we’re not talking about stalking or some other weird tactics, no. What we’re going to discuss today is the ways employers choose to monitor their employees. And maybe it’s finally time to settle the debate of whether it’s legal and, moreover, ethical to watch your employees.
Let’s start with some statistics. According to the different researches that have been conducted in the recent 5 years, up to 80% of companies are monitoring their employees in some way or another. That’s quite telling. And we understand why that’s happening. Employers need to know exactly what is happening in their company. And seeing how they can’t be at all places of the company in the same time, they need some type of monitoring that’ll help them be as up to date with everything as possible. But back to the statistics. Data shows that 40-60% of employers monitor employees’ work computers, 30% choose video cameras and different systems that control employees’ access to the company’s resources, and up to 30% use a variety of technical methods of monitoring.
It’s hard not to agree that monitoring personnel is one of the most important functions of management. It is scientifically proven that reasonable control disciplines employees, increases productivity and prevents different types of insider threats. Maybe there isn’t even anything wrong with surveillance cameras at the office, but nowadays companies can use methods of employee monitoring that are a little bit more sophisticated.
So what are the main ways employers monitor their employees?
Online computer monitoring
First things first. We have to mention the way most employers choose when it comes to monitoring their employees, and that’s online computer monitoring. It’s incredibly easy and convenient. Just imagine - you are the director of a big company, of course, you have many meetings during the workday and are a busy person in general. Yet you still have to know what your employees are up to. So people choose different software that helps them be up to date with what’s happening in their companies. The software that offers online monitoring of employees is quite popular in the market. One of the programs that has this functionality is Kickidler Employee Monitoring Software. This software allows the supervisor to personally monitor how their people work by simply monitoring their desktops. All the supervisor has to do is choose the necessary function, and an online broadcast of each monitor in the company (or in a certain department) will appear on their screen. We don’t know about you, but that sounds quite convenient to us.
Recording computer activity and history playback
Another way employers monitor their employees’ activity during the workday is by recording their computer activity. It can be done by taking screenshots or by simply recording computer screens. Of course, every director has more important things to do than constantly monitor their employees. But it doesn't mean that if your director is busy, you are left to your own devices. There are many employee monitoring software that take periodic screenshots of desktops or record all activities. For example, there are ActivTrak, Hubstaff, Staffcop and so on. There are also programs that can record videos of employees’ screens, like Teramind or Kickidler.
Streaming video from computers
Another thing that can be done is streaming video from work computers in real time. There are programs that allow the supervisor to connect to an employee's computer at any time and see what they're doing at any given moment. Once again we have to mention Kickidler computer screen monitoring software. Developers of the software made it possible to display all the employees' monitors at once. If necessary, the supervisor can zoom in on a certain screen and see in detail what the employee is busy with.
Controlling computer’s camera and microphone
Some employers may take it a little further. There is an option to control the camera and microphone of employee's computer and even to see all the content. Some programs allow the supervisor to turn on the microphone on the employee’s computer remotely and record all the conversations. But, let's admit, this sounds like taking it a little too far.
Keylogger (keystroke logger)
Another useful monitoring function that actually sounds like a good thing is keylogging. It can be helpful especially for the companies that deal with new technologies. Kickidler, Hubstaff, Interguard or Work Examiner all have this function. However, there is one setback. Keyloggers by default record every keystroke of an employee. This sounds a lot like invasion of privacy. If the company uses the program that has keylogger, all actions of any employee are clear as day. Every keystroke is recorded, and the supervisor can easily monitor this data in their web account. It’s up to you to decide if that’s something that suits your style of leadership.
Another thing that should be mentioned is GPS tracking. This function can be useful for delivery services or real estate agencies. There are different variations of this function. Some programs have only basic versions of GPS tracking, whereas others can trace the device in real time and download all the movement to the server.
And we’ve saved the best for last. Let’s talk about good old cameras. Some employers genuinely believe that if you put a CCTV camera somewhere in the office, it will magically increase productivity of everybody who’s being monitored. Here we’d argue, but hey, to each their own.
Now that we’re coming to the logical end of this article, it’s wise to sum up some points. Employee monitoring allows supervisors to estimate exactly how effectively the personnel use the working hours that they're being paid for, what apps and websites they use and what they do in general. There is a possibility to monitor certain employees if they seem in any way suspicious. Plus online monitoring gives the chance to instantly prevent leak of corporate data or other harmful actions in relation to the employer and the company.
The last thing we should mention is that while we definitely think it’s good to monitor your employees, we should warn you that it is easy to break people’s trust and oh so hard to gain it back.