If you’re thinking of introducing employee monitoring software to your business, you need to consult a legal team about the laws in your state or country. Some may think that such a tool spies on employees and that’s a negative etiquette which has been present for a long time. The truth is that such software has nothing to do with a computer spy app
So, if your needs include tracking employees’ productivity and controlling their work-related actions, there are some permissions and some restrictions that you must be aware of. This article is intended to guide you throughout the process, but it shouldn’t be considered as legal advice, and we strongly encourage you to consult a lawyer before taking any action.
Principles of Surveillance
There are some principles if you want to monitor your employees which you should follow.
- The surveillance must relate to the employer’s proper operations.
- The surveillance is allowed only to the extent necessary to protect the employer’s rightful interests and any restriction of employees’ privacy must be proportionate.
- Employees must be informed in advance of the possibility of surveillance.
- Personal data related to the surveillance must be handled in accordance with the general principles and rules of the local law legislative.
So, if you’re even considering monitoring employees, these are some basic conditions you should keep in mind. You need to have a legitimate reason to use a computer monitor service and your employees need to understand that.
When you got everything mentioned above out of the way, you need to distinguish which type of monitoring do you want to implement.
Monitoring of Telephones
Maybe the situation is that you give your employees company phones to talk with the clients and other business-related activities. You, as an employer, are entitled to restrict or completely prohibit the private use of the phone; although a reasonable degree of private use is usually accepted.
Intercepting phone calls is a no-no in most cases but using employee control apps to gather information about how they use their phone is completely legal. Business phones are made for business activities and it should stay that way.
Monitoring Email Correspondence
Professional email addresses should be used primarily for professional purposes, but a reasonable degree of private use is usually accepted, as long as this doesn’t interfere with professional use.
Although you can control the emails your employees send or receive it usually isn’t the practice. Most businesses use some type of firewall that blocks malicious emails and other possible attacks, so there’s probably no reason to control them even more.
Monitoring Internet Use
If you want to monitor the Internet usage of your employees you can use various employee internet usage monitoring software. But, it needs to be addressed, you should only opt for such a tool if you’re thinking your workers are wasting too much of their work time on unproductive sites.
Many software offers different functionalities for tracking sites your employees visit. You can also label different web pages based on whether you think they are productive or not. It’s a helpful tool to see how much time your employees spend on productive or unproductive activities.
Controlling access to websites is allowed only if employees are informed in advance of this possibility. If access is granted to certain sites on which private data or content is stored (e.g. private email accounts and electronic banking accounts), such data may not be accessed by the employer. Generally, it’s advisable to train employees on acceptable internet use in the workplace, as improvident internet use may lead to security risks for the company itself.
All in all, if you want to implement employee control software, you really need to do your homework. Invest some time to inform about legal requirements such a tool has and if you do everything correctly, you won’t have any issue.