Employee Monitoring Myths: 5 Misconceptions and Why They’re Wrong

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Employee monitoring gets a bad rap these days. Though previously thought of as a tool to micromanage or spy, it is possible to monitor employees respectfully and legally. The key is transparency and collaboration.

With a collaborative approach, businesses can implement an employee monitoring program that provides insightful data. Employee monitoring technology isn’t meant to spy on employees or impinge on their privacy. Instead, the insights serve as a means to protect the best interest of employees and promote win-win situations for employer and employee. 

Still unsure? Let’s examine some common misconceptions of employee monitoring software and why each one is bogus.

“Employee monitoring is illegal.”

In the majority of instances, workplace monitoring IS legal. And in most U.S. states, permission isn’t needed by the employee if they’re using company-owned equipment. If the company owns the computers, they’re legally allowed to monitor all activity on the device, including email when sent through the company’s internet. 

However, to get the intended value out of tracking software, employers should be completely transparent about its implementation and usage. Explaining what the monitoring software is, how it works, why it’s needed, how it will benefit the team, and addressing any privacy concerns.

“Monitoring employees invades privacy.”

People don’t like the idea of someone “watching their every move.” It’s creepy! Circumstances exist where employees use work computers for personal reasons. In fact, you shouldn’t be totally restrictive about internet usage. It is possible to allow for personal and professional usage of company-owned machines, especially if you craft an internet usage policy that establishes boundaries for the use of the internet and machines connected to it.

It’s important to stress to your team that you aren’t watching them; you’re dissecting data. You’re not interested in one or two social media check-ins, an email to a spouse,  and passwords. The ultimate goal of employee monitoring is to empower employees and to help the team achieve success.

“Only management benefits from employee monitoring.”

If you believe this one, you’re short-changing the team! Employees can reap all sorts of benefits when a monitoring program is in place. First and foremost, employees could enjoy a flexible work environment. Time is logged regardless of the hour or location, so both employer and employee know that work is being done and corroborated.

A truly invaluable result of employee monitoring is something that many people don’t even think about. Monitoring software logs all activities and some even record screenshots and videos. The reports provide evidence of hostile behavior from coworkers that might cause good employees to quit. Cyberbullying, harassment and data theft are just some of the unacceptable behaviors monitoring software can uncover for management to deal with appropriately.

It’s not just management and employees that benefit. We published a blog about how companies can utilize activity tracking software to improve the customer experience. Check it out!

“Employers don’t need to monitor when they can use timesheets instead.”

Traditional timesheets are so outdated! They rely on human input prone to error or bias. Timesheets also don’t give detailed reports about how time is spent. There’s no data delivered that will help the team improve efficiency, productivity, and security.

Don’t leave the accuracy of your payroll up to unreliable timesheets. Entrust the validity of time cards to an automated time tracking system! Learn more about why old-school timesheets just don’t cut it anymore.

“When employees become aware of monitoring software, they will become demotivated.”

When the software is implemented in the proper way, the exact opposite of this myth is true! All the reports and data offered work together to increase team engagement, morale, and motivation.

Software with features like ActivTrak’s Top Users and Risk Level reports can help managers identify employees who need coaching. With the clarity and context of user behavior, it’s much easier to discover opportunities to encourage and educate the employees who need it most.

Businesses can go one step beyond transparency of employee monitoring usage and involve the team in the process of becoming more successful. With department leaderboards, employees can compete against each other to have better productivity scores. By making everyone part of the process, the team will take ownership of their work and have new motivations for achieving success.

If you’re open to the idea of a monitoring program for your organization and want more information, read our Beginner’s Guide to Employee Monitoring to help answer any lingering questions you may have.

Want to bust some myths yourself? Get your free ActivTrak account today!