Of all the contentious topics in the workplace, employee monitoring is among the most divisive. As an authority figure in your business, it is only natural that you would want to make sure that your team is working diligently—especially as they are working remotely. That being said, there are some lines that cannot be crossed you should be aware of. Let’s discuss the concept of monitoring your employees and what cannot be done.
For starters, you can’t just start monitoring your team without informing them and obtaining their consent. This is generally illegal, and therefore should be avoided at any and every opportunity. The basic rule of thumb is this: unless you have a valid and legitimate reason to suspect an employee of acting out and are actively investigating their behaviors, you are not cleared to utilize monitoring software without informing your team that it is in place.
Therefore (as obvious as this point may be), don’t do that.
What you should instead do is be transparent with your team. Let them know that their systems will be monitored, what it is that will be monitored, and—this is the really important part—why you are monitoring their computers at all. Maintaining this level of transparency will be important to keep your team comfortable with the thought of being monitored, while you enjoy the security benefits of keeping your fingers on the pulse of your business.
Remote work has added an extra wrench into your considerations, as it obviously gives your team an increased level of access to their work devices. So, if you no longer have simple access to and control over these devices, it makes sense that you would want to continue monitoring their computers even after regular working hours.
Here’s the problem with that: who is to say how your employees are going to use their work devices after the work day has ended, and what kind of data could you inadvertently capture through your monitoring solution? Even if it happened by accident, you could wind up capturing the access credentials to one of your team member’s bank accounts, potentially putting you in hot water legally. There are a few different methods that you can use to avoid this, ranging from banning your employees from using work devices for personal reasons to giving your team members the ability to switch off their monitoring while using or accessing personal information.
Finally, you need to have a direct reason for monitoring your employees’ activities. Whether you’re trying to identify data leaks or resolve inefficiency in your processes, monitoring can be used to help collect the information you need. However, if you want to implement a monitoring solution simply to ensure that your team members are working diligently, you need to pause and reconsider.
A good rule of thumb to follow, in terms of employee monitoring, is that there always needs to be a specific goal that serves as the purpose for monitoring your team in the first place. Otherwise, you could be on shaky ground. Using it strategically, employee monitoring can bring you significant operational benefits.
With the right strategy, considerable benefits can be brought to your operations through the right technology solutions. MERIT Solutions can help. Find out how by calling (757) 420-5150.