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The Pros & Cons of Employee Internet Usage Monitoring

employee monitoring

To snoop or not to snoop—that is the question.

Even though our modern understanding of the internet is approaching its 30th birthday, employers are still trying to figure out how to manage their team’s usage of it. Do you snoop on your employees while they’re under your watchful glance? Or do you trust them to make the right decisions? In this piece, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of monitoring the internet usage of your employees.

Pros of Employee Monitoring

Employee monitoring increases worker efficiency.

Even though your employee seems to have ample time to complete their assignments, they seem to be missing deadlines. Checking how they’re spending their time online and on the clock could help you determine if they are lacking in ability or rather just in focus due to online distractions.

Employee monitoring gives you employee insight.

Though taboo for a while, many companies take an employee’s online presence into consideration during the hiring process. However, if a problem employee happens to slip through the cracks, monitoring their internet usage may reveal details of their true nature that may be problematic for continued employment. This insight may give management a chance to prepare for any potential issues.

Cons of Employee Monitoring

Employee internet monitoring can hurt manager/employee trust.

Many feel that employee monitoring only takes place when a manager doesn’t trust their employees. Studies have found a correlation between employee trust and increased worker performance. While this study does not target internet monitoring, many consider the evidence compelling. In more professional settings, employees don’t feel like trusted members of the team when their actions are constantly under surveillance.

Employee internet monitoring can result in privacy issues.

Even though the law states that employers can monitor employee usage of pretty much any company-owned devices and even networks, this can still result in violating an employee’s privacy. Agreements that say that the employer has the right to do so are usually included in onboarding paperwork, but many employees are unaware of what they have signed. Due to ignorance, many conduct private communications and transactions on company devices or networks. Though the law can lean either way, monitoring sensitive information has become a sticky situation for some employers.

Making Usage Clear

Regardless of your company’s views on internet monitoring, it pays to make your company’s internet or device usage clear to employees. Even if you’re not monitoring employee’s internet usage, setting clear boundaries can have the desired effect of internet monitoring. If you are monitoring or wish to monitor your employee’s internet usage, still informing your team of the boundaries can help reduce headaches stemming from improper usage.

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