Employee monitoring should be done ethically. If employee monitoring isn't done respectfully, it can reduce morale and have serious negative consequences.
What are employee monitoring ethics?
There is some good in employee monitoring if done correctly. What it does is track the activities of employees in the workplace. This has become more relevant as more businesses go remote. There's employee monitoring software that will monitor the activity of an employee's computer while maintaining respect and privacy concerns.
While employee monitoring has its place as a way to manage employees, there's been some questions on employee privacy laws and general ethics. So how much is too much? That's where the employee monitoring ethics come in. It allows employers to understand how employees can be monitored respectfully.
Is employee monitoring legal?
In the States, workplace monitoring is legal according to Federal workplace privacy and employee monitoring regulations. The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act lets a business owner monitor employees' verbal and written communication if you can present a legitimate business reason for it.
Employee monitoring ethics should be done within reason. There are various kinds of computer monitoring software tools that show your activity. You can monitor websites that are being browsed to keystrokes. All said and done, whatever an employee does on a company-owned computer is legally allowed to be visible to the employer.
It's OK to monitor computer usage to ensure they're not on social media, but you may run into trouble when you acquire too much information. You must protect any information obtained like personal browsing history and private data stored on the computer. If there were to be a breach, you're vulnerable as a company to litigation by your employee. Be aware of this when considering the workplace monitoring you choose to put in place.
Creating an effective workplace monitoring policy
Have a Standard Employee Monitoring Policy
Monitoring employees in the workplace should start with a policy, so everything is clear. You'll want to define why you're monitoring employee productivity. You also want to explain what you'll be watching and why. Let them know what employee monitoring software is used and what devices will be monitored. This is all in the spirit of total transparency, which should help with the harmful effects of employee monitoring.
Adhere to Employee Monitoring Laws
Every state has different employee privacy laws, so follow nation and state labor/privacy laws. The ECPA in the US doesn't allow interception of electronic communication. In Delaware, you must notify your employees that they'll be electronically monitored. If you have a remote workforce and are using employee monitoring software, make sure you know the laws of those countries too.
Be Communicative on Why Employee Monitoring Software is Needed
When it comes to workplace privacy and employee monitoring, you'll want to help employees understand why you need to do it. Make it clear that you'll monitor them during business hours and only for business purposes. Lay out the risks of improper usage of digital assets in the workplace and ask that they not use computers and phones for personal use.
Use Secure Employee Monitoring Software
Employee monitoring software in the office or remote workers is a popular tool. You can quite easily install the monitoring program onto work computers or buy a cloud solution for ease. You want to make sure that the software you use is secure. Make sure it's software that respects employee monitoring laws, the workplace monitoring policy, and employee privacy.
One of the least intrusive employee monitoring is time tracking. Time tracking is something that employees accept. You'll see how much time an employee works on a digital device without getting too much information.
The Benefits of establishing clear employee monitoring ethics in the workplace
There are significant benefits when you weigh out the pros and cons of employee monitoring. Suppose you communicate so that it can be understood and well-received; your employees will likely jump on board. Workplace monitoring the right way will allow you to track what employees are doing. It keeps you know what tasks they did during the day and how long they took. This can increase performance and productivity.
When employees know they're being monitored, they're more productive. It prevents distraction because they don't go on social media while working. Tasks get completed more efficiently. By choosing the right employee monitoring software like Elorus time tracking, you can keep your team on the job in an ethical way.