Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The debate over monitoring employees

Your company supplied you a laptop you can use at home. Say you use it to watch movies on Netflix. Should your company get to track which movies you saw? Perhaps you do much of your work on a company-provided iPad. Should your company be able to track the Facebook posts you're making on it in your off-hours?



Privacy in the tech age



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



High-tech snooping?



That’s because today’s technology allows employers to monitor everything from where their employees are during the day - thanks to smart phones and GPS - to what Web sites they’re visiting to what e-mail messages they’re sending. Employers do this for a variety of reasons; they don’t want their employees to embarrass them on social media sites. They would like to make sure that their employees aren’t visiting TMZ during working hours. The question is: Does this monitoring pay off for companies?



The end of privacy?



The opinions by the experts quoted by Claburn are a mixed lot. These experts say that some monitoring of employees is reasonable, but other tactics are not. Such as, 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 tend to be rewarded with workers who are harder-working and more loyal.

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