The Bottom Line: Is Your Boss Spying On You?

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Nowadays, most companies have gone through a digital transformation, making technology an inextricable part of their employees’ daily tasks. As companies make that shift, however, a new digital ethos is emerging as well.

Boss SpyingOne of the main areas 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.

However, what needs to be made clear, is that in most cases, employee monitoring software is not intended to ‘spy’ on employees. Instead, companies see it as a way to:

  • Avoid data breaches that employees intentionally or unintentionally cause. A significant percentage of such breaches are caused by unauthorized software that makes its way onto company workstations via file downloads or transfers. 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. Using employee monitoring software, companies can track activities that could potentially misuse the data and protect it more effectively.
  • Improve efficiency and productivity by galvanizing commitment with the oversight that monitoring can provide. The data from a monitoring software can 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 employees’ privacy. 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 aware of how it is being used. The exact ways to track their online activity should be detailed and why that tracking is necessary.

Make no mistake, the features in WorkExaminer are comprehensive. They 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 available features may differ.

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

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, which should be the last thing that companies want.