Top Tips for Ethically and Legally Monitoring Your Employees
Businesses have the ability to oversee how their equipment is being used, but should they track everything workers do on company computers? At first, there are many who are put-off about the thought of their bosses looking at emails, Facebook posts or screenshots, but if a policy has been put in place then workers should consider what types of information they access or transmit from company computers. Call centers monitor calls for quality assurance and data entry jobs evaluate the speed of their worker’s entries or words per minute. Company vehicles are monitored for mileage and maintenance schedules, and companies that issue laptops or computers need to be able to see how their computers are being used.
Write a Policy
First, there needs to be a policy. Businesses are legally required to acquire consent to be monitored, but the main issue at stake when establishing accountability is trust. Bosses need to trust their workers, but workers need to be able to trust their bosses as well. If anything is going to be monitored for quality assurance or employee evaluation, those facts should be presented up front and in writing. Even with a company policy in place, bosses need to communicate with workers and explain the types of information that is being collected from company computers and equipment. This makes sure that there are no surprises and gives workers a heads-up and gives bosses the statistics they need for understanding company computer usage.
Secure All Assets
Businesses are responsible for the security, infrastructure and repairs on all business equipment. Computers need to be free of viruses, Internet connections should only be used for accessing professional content and permissions need to be set in order to keep company data within the company. Businesses need the ability to find out what their workers are up to on the computer at any time or locate any lost or stolen equipment. It is normal for businesses to use surveillance cameras or record phone conversations for later review. It makes sense to use monitoring software on a computer that will have the same playback effect. In the event that a computer is being used for harassment, leaking of company data or online piracy, a business deserves to be able to pinpoint those activities in order to correct the problem. Access should be restricted from administrator settings that would allow installation of applications which might harm the computer or invade the work space.
Don’t sweep issues under the rug. If an employee is being monitored in a certain way, they expect to be notified about it so they can voice any concerns and get answers to questions they might have. There is a feeling of vulnerability that sours the working relationship when it is revealed that someone was watching someone who was completely unaware. Putting it out there that work computers must have accountability for usage gives workers a focus to make sure that activity on the computers abides by company policies. A lot of privacy concerns can be quelled when we understand that the only information available is the same information we ourselves provide. In order for private data to be kept private, it is up to the individual to use their own computers and storage devices and not pass that information through any unauthorized channels such as a company computer.
Effective employee monitoring software gives employers the ability to review each company computer’s screen and retain logs of activities for later review. Managers can access logs from any company computer through an online web panel and see chat logs, external IP addresses, GPS locations, instant message chats, which users adjusted which files and more. Supervisors can remotely Log Off or shut down any company computer and see each screen live in real time to see what everyone is working on. By setting policies and establishing consent to be monitored, businesses provide transparency and avoid ethical and legal implications.
Net Orbit allows employers to monitor up to three employee computers or mobile devices at no cost.