Employee Browser Monitoring: What Employers Do About Internet Abuse In the Workplace
There are plenty of studies conducted about employee productivity in the workplace, and some of them have spawned protocols on employee monitoring with GDPR. Depending on the study being reviewed, estimates show that employees will spend from 1.5 to 4 hours a day on the internet doing their personal activities. And this data comes from information reported by the employees themselves. In combination with business owner concerns over the way employees are surfing the web while at work, more and more employers think about conducting employee monitoring.
It’s a known fact that employees do everyday things online while at work. Things like banking, shopping online, social media browsing, watching videos, or visiting news and sports websites. However, some of these activities spill-over past the allotted break time, costing the company money. And often, employees don’t care if they doing non-work-related activities at work.
How Employees Use and Abuse The Internet At Work
There are a certain portion of employees, from the lowest grunts to the top managers, who abuse their internet privileges at work. Some studies suggest that 3% of employees spend 8 hours or more on the web doing unproductive, non-work-related activities. And these are hours billable to the company, losing the business hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Some managers even spend around 7 hours a day looking for other jobs (an ethical breach in itself), watching videos, and downloading coupons.
There are plenty of ways to work around the same problem. For example, an employee might change his monitor’s position so that no one but them could see what they were viewing. In most cases, this would alert IT to view their internet history and confirm what the employee has been doing with their time on the internet. If it was pornographic or violent content, things would likely land the employee to get fired.
Employers need to be aware of what their employees are up to on the web. If they had an employee who viewing and downloading pornographic material, the company could be sued under charges of a hostile environment for work or for sexual harassment. This would prompt the employer to fire the employee, which would be the correct thing to do since most policies today spell out in no uncertain terms that viewing pornographic content is punishable by being let go.
Why Most Business Owners Consider Monitoring Their Employees’ Online Activities
If nothing else, most business owners believe monitoring their employees and their activities online can boost their productivity on the employee level, make them safe from certain legal repercussions, and secure the company’s data.
President and CEO of American Management Association, Manny Avramidis, chimed in on the issue. He says that, "There are primary reasons why employers monitor employee internet behavior at work, depending on the organization and its employees. Employee productivity is key.” He further stated that keeping trade secrets are important but are not necessarily an issue that is being considered by employees. Most are actually not aware of the importance of such data or information to their competitors.
"Intranet sites share information employers don't want outsiders to know because of competition and the need to beat competitors to market. Other companies are concerned about fraud as far as data security, making sure information is not being stolen,” Mr. Avramidis continues.
The gist of it is that companies will use the reason of being burned before as justification for installing and implementing monitoring protocols. This can be in the form of monitoring their emails and other inbound and outbound communications on company devices. Or they may check the locations of their in-the-field employees in order to make sure that they are wherever they say they are and to satisfy labor codes. Whatever, the method for monitoring and the reason for doing it, businesses have something valuable that they need to protect and it is relatively cheap to monitor their employees. And that’s why they do it.
What Can Employers Do If They Don’t Wish To Implement Monitoring Protocols?
Even knowing what their employees are capable of doing, there are still some employers that don’t want to monitor their employees, opting instead to trust them. There is merit in this approach for all its drawbacks. It makes employees feel that their boss is more trusting of them and what they can do for the company, which might make them waste less time even without the effective deterrent of a monitoring system. Here are some alternatives that companies can employ instead of employee monitoring.
- Devise a fundamentally sound email and internet use policy. This should provide clear limits on what the employee can and can’t do while they are on the web and while they use their emails. This approach emphasizes the fact that ownership trusts the employees and they will be more motivated not to breach that trust.
- Train your managers to recognize the signs of an employee abusing his internet and online privileges. This way, your managers and supervisors will also be trained in establishing and maintaining the workplace policies.
These two alternatives could develop an active culture of trust within the company. However, these might not be appropriate for large companies or to firms that deal with client information. There are cell phone monitoring applications, powerful ones like Highster Mobile, that can effectively monitor employee activity on the net. Highster Mobile will certainly help your company boost productivity and secure sensitive data with its powerful features like email and call monitoring. Visit our website https://highstermobile.com now to learn more!