Working from home is quickly becoming a common thing in many workplaces post-Covid-19. According to a recent study, 58% of respondents prefer working from home as compared to going to the office.
To help cope with the changing dynamics, a lot of companies are now turning to internet monitoring software tools to oversee employees’ work remotely and support them where necessary.
But as with any new technology, internet monitoring comes with its fair share of challenges which can be detrimental to an organization if not handled properly.
In this article, we take you through six of the most common internet monitoring challenges and how you can overcome them.
Let’s dive straight in!
Monitoring your employees’ use of the internet can create distrust if you do not follow the right procedure for implementing it. For starters, your employees may feel like their privacy is being violated.
The core goal of monitoring employee internet use is to enhance productivity but it may end up having the opposite effect on your organization.
So, how do you ensure that your company doesn’t fall into this trap?
First, ensure that you let your employees know that their internet use is being monitored beforehand. This way, they will not feel like they are being spied upon.
An even better idea would be to involve them in the monitoring policy. Have a common understanding of what will be monitored, the methods used, and how the information will be used.
The end goal is to have all, or at least the majority of your employees, consent to the policy so that everyone is on the same page.
The Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986 states that employers can legally track employee internet use on work devices. However, each state has varying laws on employee monitoring which may be more restrictive than the ECPA.
Once you’ve decided to monitor your employees’ internet use, you essentially take on some legal risk. Monitoring your employees can easily result in a lawsuit. As such, we highly recommend that you are familiar with all the legal implications that come with it and are compliant with all local, state, and federal monitoring laws.
Another major concern of internet monitoring is the security of employee information. This vital data is left in the hands of the employer and could in a blink get accessed by malicious people if not stored properly.
Some examples of sensitive employee information that can be gotten from internet monitoring are location data, personally identifiable data, and search queries surrounding protected cases like religion, race, and disabilities.
To safeguard employee information from misuse, ensure only a few chosen people have access to it. These people should undergo thorough training on how to handle this information. This way, should any information be altered or let out, it would be easy to narrow down to who might have done it.
Another way to protect employees’ information is to put in place technical security and administrative measures. This can be done by having only authorized people access the databases and doing away with records that are no longer necessary.
Unfair Use of Internet Monitoring
If employees feel that internet monitoring is being used to punish them, they may be hostile toward the idea. This is why it’s crucial that you must ensure that internet monitoring is used fairly especially in performance reviews.
Where possible, avoid using internet monitoring to focus on employees. Instead, focus on departments and workgroups.
False Sense of Security
Monitoring your employees’ internet use may have you thinking that you no longer need human surveillance. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Human surveillance is extremely important in any workplace. Having solid human resource policies is crucial and monitoring employee internet use only augments them.
Reduced Creativity among Employees
Employees may shy away from handling certain tasks in their way for fear that the internet monitoring device might capture this as using shortcuts. Employees end up stifling their creativity for fear of losing their jobs or being ranked poorly in performance appraisals.
To curb this challenge, ensure that internet monitoring is used to the benefit of the employees, to empower and support them to do their work better. and not to punish them or spy on them.
Internet monitoring is a double-edged sword. When used properly, it can bring immense benefits to an organization. If misused, it can lead to irreparable damage. We hope that the tips we shared here will help you handle the common issues your company is likely to face when monitoring internet use. Good luck!