Is it beneficial for employers to track employees’ online activities?

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many businesses to embrace a work from home setup. However, one of the challenges managers faced was checking the productivity of each employee. Monitoring employees online is a good way of tracking the productivity of a remote workforce. Keep reading to learn more about employee monitoring.

What is employee monitoring?

Employee monitoring is the practice of using digital tools to track employee activity and performance, and the progress of their tasks. The data collected can be used to identify patterns, trends, and correlations across different teams allowing managers to gain insight into various work processes, and how they can be improved.

What are the benefits of employee monitoring?

Here are the key benefits of monitoring your employees online:

1. Improved productivity
Using employee monitoring tools can help you track how much time employees spend visiting non-work-related websites or chatting with friends. If an employee’s productivity goes down significantly because of these activities, you can address the issue by reminding that specific employee about the company’s policy regarding visiting non-work-related websites and/or limiting his/her internet access.

When employees know that their activities are being monitored, they’re more likely to focus on their tasks and avoid inappropriate internet use.

2. Better security
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 85% of breaches reported in 2020 were due to human error. Monitoring the online habits of employees can help employers track and flag instant messages and emails containing sensitive and private information. In addition, managers can block employees from visiting phishing sites or websites that automatically download malware onto unprotected computers and mobile devices.

3. More efficient project management
Monitoring employee activity provides managers with continuous reports on workers’ progress, allowing them to stay on top of multiple projects. These reports can help managers delegate tasks and adjust schedules to meet deadlines.

What are the disadvantages of monitoring your employees online?

Despite its benefits, employee monitoring also comes with some drawbacks, such as:

1. Trust issues
Employees may feel that their privacy is being violated. This can lead to low employee morale and reduced productivity, as well as distrust between and among colleagues.

2. Legal issues
States and countries may have varying policies on employee monitoring, but one thing is constant ⁠— an employee’s consent is needed before any type of monitoring can be done.Without the consent of an employee, an employer can be charged with privacy violations and discrimination if the information collected is used to harm that employee.

To avoid potential problems that can arise from employee monitoring, employers should explain why monitoring is needed. A written policy should be created explaining how employees will be monitored, what information will be collected, and how that information will be protected.

If you want to learn more about employee monitoring, give us a call today.

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