Monitoring your employees: No easy answers

July 19, 2013
As the owner of a small business, you now have the technology available to find out what Web sites your workers visit while sitting at their desks. You are able to monitor how they use Twitter and Facebook. You can even tap into their smart phones to find out where they physically are throughout the day. But just because you can do this, it doesn’t mean you should.


Privacy matters

Thomas Claburn, editor-at-large with InformationWeek, recently tackled the debate over employee monitoring in a recent online feature. In it, he quoted a wide range of experts, all of whom could understand why employers would like to use new tech to monitor their employees. But these experts also contended that too much monitoring is counterproductive.


More to come?

If you run a package-delivery service, it might be OK to use new tech to monitor the position of your drivers, Claburn writes. And he points to the reduced level of worker theft after Dunkin’ Donuts started monitoring employees. But how about tracing the location of a company-issued smartphone even when the employee using that phone is off work? Employers, Claburn writes, should probably avoid this.



The opinions by the experts quoted by Claburn are a mixed bag. These experts say that some monitoring of employees is reasonable, but other tactics are not. For example, employers shouldn’t monitor their workers’ locations when these workers are off duty. Perhaps the most sage advice in the story? Those companies who trust their employees are generally rewarded with workers who are harder-working and much more loyal.

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