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Should you Monitor Employees Online?

To monitor or not to monitor employees while online is something as old as the internet itself. So if you are considering monitoring employees here are some tips that can make your efforts more successful.

Why Would You Monitor Employees Online?

Your employees are at the heart of your business and trusting them is important to the smooth function of your business. But there may be a few reasons why you might consider monitoring their online activities.

  • Data Theft – Careless or disgruntled employees could leak or sell your data. So, ensuring your data is safe, is important.
  • Policy Compliance – There are a number of reasons why any rules or policies are created. But ensuring compliance with important policies such as not installing illegal programs or unknown software should be one at the top of the list.
  • Harassment – Nobody wants to work in a hostile environment, so ensure that employees are not participating in any activity that could be considered cyberbullying sexual harassment, or other forms of activity that could be considered harassing.
  • Illegal Activity – Any number of issues can fall into this category. But ensuring your employees are not doing any activities that could jeopardize your company is important.

After monitoring employee computer and internet usage. Business owners soon discover that their employees may be not focused or are participating in activities that are either not business-focused functions or that are not in a business’s best interest.

Thoughts On Why Not Monitor Employees Online

After reading a few of the obvious reasons why you might want to consider monitoring employees when using computers or online activities. There are certainly a few reasons why you might not want to monitor them.

  • I’m Not Trusted – When you monitor your employee’s every action. You might find that employee morale, and productivity begins to suffer because they don’t feel valued or trusted.
  • Privacy issues – Privacy and legal issues surrounding employees’ and customers’ personal data grow ever more important. As new laws and regulations force businesses to respect, maintain, and enforce privacy rights. You might learn things about your employees from religious beliefs, political opinions, medical issues, or personal financial information. All that could be used against you and your business if the business data is compromised or used illegally. You could be looking at a sizable lawsuit for not protecting the privacy of the data.

Monitoring Guidelines

If your company does decide to monitor employee’s tech usage and online activities consider a few tips to follow.

1. Create written policies for Internet Usage:

Set guidelines for the acceptable use of email, web browsing, social media, or software downloads. Also, be sure to include who the monitoring will take place and how you intend to secure the data or if it will be destroyed after reviewing it.

2. Be Sure to Tell Employees When Monitoring Online Activities.

It’s important to inform your employees of the method and the scope of the monitoring and the policies. So, they have been informed of the process and why you are implementing the monitoring in the first place. Just because you decided to monitor your employee’s computer usage. There is no need to plant the seeds of distrust keeping secret of your monitoring efforts. Not to mention you might open your business to legal issues.

3. Explain Why Your Monitoring Employees Online Activities.

Once you decided to monitor your employees’ computers and online activities. Be sure to tell them why. If there has been an upswing in the number of viruses, malware attacks from illegal software or just to help deter the staff from wasting time. By telling employees the risks the business faces of unlicensed software, or misuse of digital assets. Be sure to tell them you are NOT spying on their personal lives, but merely trying to ensure that they are working in an efficient, safe and legally compliant working environment. They will be sure to better understand why you need to have these policies.

4. Have Every Employee Read and Sign Internet Usage Polices

This should go without saying that all employees should be given these policies to read and sign off that they understand the policies.

When you tell your employees, explain why you’re doing it and the risks your business faces from the misuse of digital assets. Reassure them you’re not doing it to spy on their personal life, but to create a compliant and law-abiding workplace. Because their activities will now be less private, encourage your staff to keep their personal communication with their smartphones. Also, provide a copy of your written policy to employees to read and sign.

5. Get the Right Technology if You Decide to Monitor Employees Online

You don’t need to know every activity an employee does, review apps, and utilize software that can alert you problems, that way you can deal with issues and go about your day.

Monitoring your employees for security, compliance, and productivity does not have to be a difficult task. If you want to learn more about security, or any other IT issue that might help your business. Please get in touch with us at 570-371-5800.

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