Employee monitoring has become so popular over the past years that it doesn’t surprise anyone today when an organization observes employees work. And there are as many opponents of employee monitoring as lovers. Also, a number of misconceptions has grown up around this topic. Thus, to help you clear up doubts and understand this practice, we’ve prepared a short summary of the most important aspects of employee monitoring.
What Is Employee Monitoring About?
According to Wikipedia, the definition of employee monitoring goes as follows:
“Employee monitoring is the act of employers surveying employee activity through different surveillance methods. Organizations engage in employee monitoring for different reasons such as to track performance, to avoid legal liability, to protect trade secrets, and to address other security concerns.”
Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about employee monitoring is “spying.” This is a false belief which has nothing to do with reality. The truth is that organizations which decide to implement employee monitoring software not only do it due to security concerns but also to help employees work better.
The same goes for companies creating employe monitoring software. Why do you think we created TimeCamp, a time tracking software which allows people to monitor their performance throughout their work? We want people to be more productive, save time, and always keep projects under control.
And that’s what employee monitoring is about. It’s about productivity, efficiency, optimization and automation, and security.
How Does Employee Monitoring Work?
With the technological development, new solutions emerged. They enabled for practical and convenient ways of monitoring employees’ work. Today, the most common include:
- email monitoring,
- phone monitoring (calls and messages),
- GPS tracking,
- video surveillance,
- employee monitoring software.
The most efficient and common way of employee monitoring is using special software which tracks users activity on computers. It’s one of the most popular solutions due to the fact that most people work on computers. Employee monitoring software has dedicated features which make it easy for employer and employee to monitor work-related activities.
Such software can be a source of valuable information about employees’ efficiency, even about the condition of the organization. Since it gathers all the data, it helps to answers the most important questions:
- How and when people work?
- Are they being productive? What is affecting their productivity? How can it be improved?
- Is employees work bringing benefits to the organization?
- What are the mistakes people make and how can they be rectified?
Employee monitoring software helps to understand the processes taking place in the organization and improve them, automate work, and help employees achieve better results.
Is Employee Monitoring Legal?
Many concerns grow over employee monitoring and its legality. While for many organizations it’s mandatory, especially if they’re government contractors who have to comply with the DCAA regulations, other decide to implement monitoring software out of the free will.
The American federal law does not forbid employee monitoring. However, every state has different regulations. Make sure to check them. Also it’s worth to follow these four standards:
- Familiarize yourself and your organization with the law not to break it.
- Inform your employees about monitoring. Tell them what are the regulations and always be available to them whenever they have doubts or questions.
- Use the right tools. Some are more sophisticated than others and may not meet your expectations.
- Never monitor personal items of your employees like their laptops, phones, etc.
Pros and Cons
- Increased productivity
- Monitoring in the real-time to quickly analyze everyone’s activity
- Accurate and detailed reports
- Automatization of work
- Proper poject and office mangement
- Employees have access to more flexible environment
- Ability to provide relevant feedback based on the data provided by software
- Increased stress and feeling of anxiety
- Possibility to create an atmosphere of mistrust
- High cost of implementation and maintenance of software
Although there are more advantages than disadvantages, you should remember that negative feelings can lead to dissatisfaction and make employees less productive or even wanting to leave their job.
If you’re seeing negative consequences of employee monitoring, it means that you either haven’t introduced it to the employees in the right way or there appeared obstacles along the way. It’s important to talk to your team and try to fix the problem together.
What Are The Best Tools for Employee Monitoring?
There are so many employee monitoring tools that it may be hard to choose from. Most of them come with variety of features and are created for different sectors. The most common are time tracking software, project management software, to-do lists, team communication and collaboration software or combinations of two or more tools.
There are three elements you should consider when looking for an employee monitoring software:
- It should correspond to your business model
- It should have all the features you need; having too many or too little features may affect your employees work. Some tools look fancy but it may turn out they’re not appropriate for your team.
- Ease of access to the data and ease of use
- Possibility to integrate it with other apps
Remember that not every software will work for you. Most of them offer free trial period or even free version. It’s a good idea to try different software and choose the one that works best for you and your business.
To Wrap It Up
According to the survey conducted by the American Management Association, nearly 80% of major companies now monitor employees’ use of email, Internet or phone. There is no doubt that this number will continue to grow.
If you haven’t implemented an employee monitoring software at your company, it’s the high time you did it! Remember that introducing your team to new conditions is a difficult process which doesn’t stop when everybody knows how to use the tools. It’s a continuous process which everybody in your organization should work on.