Monitoring Employee Computer Usage – Their Rights and Yours

What your employees do while on the clock concerns you and the company. You expect your employees to perform certain tasks with efficiency so the salary you pay is worth their output. When your employees are browsing the internet they are not only using company property but also using up the company’s time. So, it makes sense that you may want to monitor their activities. Whether you prefer to keep a tight rein or allow some breathing room, that is your right. However, here are some guidelines that will help you work together and build a relationship that will keep your employees motivated.

Be Straightforward

Be upfront with employees about what they will be monitored for and if there will be consequences for certain violations. No one likes to be secretly watched. Keeping something secret sends a signal to the employees that you don’t trust them to do their work properly. Many companies include the information in a technology rights form that new hires sign before starting work. Some will even have employees read and sign it again at the start of each new year. It is also a good idea to review key points during orientation so as to avoid any confusion.

The foremost reason for computer monitoring is to protect the company. You need to know if workers are giving out company secrets or unwittingly downloading viruses. Monitoring software includes filters that can prevent employees from visiting certain websites, downloading malicious software, taking files home and more. You don’t need to be watching what everyone is doing all the time either. The software can send you alerts by email when someone is trying to bypass the settings.

Be Trusting

Being too strict and rigorous will lose employees’ respect and their motivation. It is best to save an investigation until you notice a pattern of decreased productivity. Is someone spending an inordinate amount of time watching popular videos and reading non-work email? That may account for the person’s decreased efficiency in their work and would signal that it’s time to have a chat with the supervisor.

Level the Playing Field

No one wants to work where they feel uncomfortable because of what their co-worker is watching or listening to. But they don’t want to be labeled as a snitch either. Individuals will be relieved to know that the field is equal for all employees because everyone is being held to the same standard. That means discipline must be dealt out for those who break the rules. Every good boss knows the vibe of the work environment is important to good productivity.