The Bottom Line: Is Your Boss Spying On You?


Most companies nowadays have gone or are going through adigital transformation, making technology an inextricable part of theiremployees daily tasks. As companies make that shift however, a new digitalethos is emerging as well.

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One of the main areas that employees are often concerned about is how closely their work is monitored and tracked on company workstations. Recently Wired magazine published a brief expose that highlighted the potential for misuse of employee monitoring software and how invasive it could be.

What needs to be made clear however is that in the majority of cases employee monitoring software is not intended to ‘spy’ on employees. Instead companies see it is a way to:

  • Avoid data breaches that are intentionally or unintentionally caused by employees. A significant percentage of such breaches are caused by unauthorized software that make its way onto company workstations via file downloads or transfers, and employee monitoring software can help prevent that.
  • Comply with privacy and data protection laws that increasingly require companies to take steps to prevent both external and internal misuse of user data. By using employee monitoring software, companies can track activities that could lead to potential misuse of the data and protect it more effectively.
  • Improve efficiency and productivity by galvanizing commitment with the oversight that monitoring can provide. The data from monitoring software can be used to suggest improvements, optimize processes, and avoid unwanted distractions.

In short there are numerous very legitimate reasons why employee monitoring is not only beneficial – but necessary. As far as whether or not you need to be concerned that your boss is ‘spying’ on you – it all boils down to a question of how the monitoring is carried out.

Avoiding Misuse and Misunderstandings

The key is to avoid misuse of monitoring software to the point where it intrudes on the privacy of employees. Potential misunderstandings regarding the role that monitoring software plays should also be avoided.

That can be accomplished with a policy that outlines how the company expects its workstations and internet to be utilized, along with any relevant restrictions. The policy should also cover the monitoring that employees can expect, and the reasons for remote computer monitoring.

As a case in point, if WorkExaminer is being used as an internet monitoring software, employees should be made aware how it is being used. The exact ways in which it will track their online activity should be detailed, and the reason why that tracking is necessary.

Make no mistake the features in WorkExaminer are comprehensive and will enable companies to monitor the time spent on websites, record screenshots or keystrokes, block websites, track file transfers, search emails, and more. However how each company opts to use the features that are available may differ.

If the features are misused to invasively track employees and all their online activities, employee monitoring software WorkExaminer may be viewed as spying. However if employees are informed clearly in advance regarding what activities will be monitored, and why – it won’t be viewed as spying.

In short you should be able to see how monitoring employee activities with WorkExaminer can be misconstrued, and why it is important to avoid any misunderstanding. The last thing that employees want is to feel like they are being ‘spied’ on, and that should be the last thing that companies want as well.