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Should you track your Employee’s Internet Usage?

As an employer you’re in a position to ensure that the time your employees are spending in the workplace is productive. With the internet being an unending supply of entertainment, how your employees behave online can have a major impact on your bottom line. Research suggests that the average full-time worker spends between 90 to 270 minutes each day, a lot of it on the internet.

A lot of business owners, as a result are considering whether or not they should monitor the use of their employees’ computers and whether it’s a good policy to ensure overall health of the company.

The benefits of employee monitoring internet usage

Since wages are your largest cost, any solution that can cut down on time-wasters is likely provide your company with significant advantages. Employees are less likely to be scrolling through social media or watching YouTube videos when they are aware that their activities are being watched.

There are additional benefits as well Monitoring allows you to discover the areas where your employees are succeeding on the internet and also those who are struggling. Monitoring internet usage of your employees could provide you with an indication of which employees require additional training and who doesn’t, which will allow you to optimize your utilization of your funds. Monitoring internet usage can assist in increasing security, by stopping employees from accessing websites which could compromise your network.

The Challenges of Finding employees

The advantages of tracking employees are obvious, however there are reasons you shouldn’t monitor what your employees do online, the most important one being the effect it has on morale.

It may seem like the best method to get maximum efficiency from employees is to control their use of the internet, but If employees feel that they’re constantly being monitored this could affect their mood, which ultimately, can affect their performance.

There’s also a moral issue that is: should employers be able monitor the entire activities of an individual on the web? Monitoring everything employees do online could be a way to get around a wall that companies wouldn’t normally be able to cross in the real world. The bosses don’t talk to between employees and their spouses or track them through shopping malls, taking notes of what they purchase. This is the scenario when employers begin to monitor the use of the internet at work. This may seem like an excellent plan, and it may consider it your right as the person who owns the network of computers however, it’s an incredibly intrusive privacy invasion that wouldn’t be considered acceptable in other situations.

It’s important to remember that monitoring your internet activity isn’t going to be very effective in preventing the wasting of time. If an employee is aware that you’re watching their every movement on your work computers, they’ll switch to mobile devices and connect to an alternative network. So, an online monitoring policy isn’t going to bring the results you desire: less time wastage. It will instead take it away. Employees will shift to the next most effective option.

You can try to prohibit all mobile devices from your workplace. But we’re really in an Dickensian horror scenario. Your employees will not only be disconnected from their social networks, but also your image as an employer could be damaged as employees don’t wish to be without their devices, and they will feel snubbed by the business. Morale will surely be affected.

What are the legal issues? Do there have to be legal requirements to be considered when monitoring?

Legal guidelines exist for employers with regards to monitoring. If you decide to conduct a surveillance program, you must put in place written policies. The amount of data you track should be proportional to the circumstance and justified. Your employees must be informed of the length you’ll store any information you gather.

The most effective method justification for monitoring would be to argue that it can help “safeguard” the employees. It is possible to monitor employee activity online to protect them and secure the company’s assets.