One of the keys to the success of companies is to monitor the productivity of employees and work to increase it, in order to achieve the company’s goals and achieve the appropriate level of productivity to achieve those goals.
As a definition of employee monitoring, we can say that it is any process related to the collection of information about their activities, and it is not only mainly the collection of information, but also serves the goals of automating work, reducing the causes of distraction, and ensuring that work resources are used in the right place, according to the Financial Management Magazine (FM-Magazine).
Why do companies monitor their employees?
There are several reasons why companies use on-the-job monitoring programs or methods, including identifying errors and areas of difficulty in the performance of work or certain tasks, increasing the efficiency of resource distribution, and administrative decisions related to employees and supervisors. to help prepare. objective and accurate reports on the work environment.
Also, one of the reasons why companies can pay to monitor their employees is to collect and analyze work-related data to get a clear picture of their progress, help manage the pay scale and incentive system, to find out truth in case of any conflict between employees, and enable supervisors to provide immediate support to employees if they need it.
Surveillance increases during pandemic days
The global demand for employee monitoring programs increased in the period after April 2020, according to a report by Clockly, especially for employees whose nature of work allowed them to stay at home and work remotely due to the Corona pandemic (Covid-19 ), so the importance of monitoring Employees to ensure that they perform their work well and maintain the required level of productivity, and the use of monitoring tools ensures that work controls are maintained and employees are fully committed to its rules.
Despite this growth in demand and use, these technologies may not always have a positive impact on the work environment, and may pose a legal or financial risk to the business or damage the company’s reputation.
Although the cost of these methods is relatively low, it does not necessarily lead to a significant increase in the value of the return, due to the negative impact it has on the morale and motivation of workers.
What do companies use to monitor their employees?
There are many and different methods of employee control.
With the increase in the transition to the mode of remote work, there was a need to adopt methods of monitoring employees to maintain work order. The Washington Post website mentioned some of these means:
1- Collaborative tools:
It is a software that is used jointly by a number of employees working on the same task or project. These programs provide information and statistics about the entry and exit of employees, working time, downtime and the amount of work completed during a certain period. .
2- Internet Browsing History:
By obtaining this record, it is possible to determine if the employee is wasting time in the wrong place, so it is possible to know the sites he enters and spends a long time in and filter these sites on work devices to access them to prevent
This method allows supervisors to determine if an employee is on site by taking a photo at certain intervals through the camera, and can extend to recording short videos or live broadcasting through it.
4- Keyboard Activity and Word Alerts:
The keyboard entries of employees are recorded and collected and analyzed, this enables it to know what content the employee writes and determine whether it is relevant to the job or not.
It is also through a certain software that monitors the words entered by the employee on the keyboard, and when there are certain keywords, an alert is sent to the supervisors to deal with the matter.
5- Email and chat content:
Companies monitor the content of email sent and received by employees and determine whether it is work-related or poses a risk, in terms of corporate information leakage or other risks.
6- Geo-location tracking:
This method extends beyond the work area for employees in offices, through the “GPS” chip in mobile phones, it is possible to know the whereabouts of employees 24 hours a day, and this matter can be considered as a violation of the privacy of employees in some cases, especially outside workplaces.
Employee Monitoring Rules
Federal rules and laws in the United States give supervisors the freedom to monitor their employees without informing them, while concealing the extent and manner of monitoring.
However, in some cases and depending on local laws, this control cannot be implemented without first obtaining approval from the staff.
Surveillance and workplace privacy laws arose out of the (electronic communications privacy) movement in 1986, which allowed companies to monitor verbal and written communications of employees, but only if the company had a legitimate reason to do so. provided that is directly related to the work.
Nevertheless, the previous laws can sometimes be deceptive, when obtaining the consent of the employee to monitor him, the case can extend to personal monitoring, and this represents a violation of the privacy of individuals in their personal lives outside of work.
On the other hand, monitoring must be within reason. For example, it is not permissible to place a video surveillance system in certain private places such as bathrooms or changing rooms, but rather it is limited to only public places, such as the workplace and places of large gathering of employees , otherwise companies will face lawsuits This will cause her great loss and greatly damage her reputation.
Risks and disadvantages of employee monitoring
Despite some positive reasons for applying control methods at work, it also has risks and negative aspects.
Access to employee information more than necessary carries risks, it must be passed on by supervisors personal information of employees, such as bank data, personal email, medical records and other health information. This has dire consequences for the company’s business and reputation and could mean its end.
Another negative aspect is not on working individuals, but on the company itself, which is the time and effort spent to collect, analyze and absorb information about employees, although it is important to analyze this information to benefit from it, this process takes effort and time.
There is also a negative impact on the productivity of employees, when they feel monitored, they have a feeling of mistrust and suspicion by their supervisors, and this leads to a decrease in their enthusiasm for work and a decrease in their returns , what a charged and tense atmosphere at work.