There are hundreds of software and hardware technology solutions available on the market which monitors a vast array of activities. The price of user activity monitoring software ranges from several thousand dollars down to a free or no-cost.Most solutions can be logged keystrokes typed, application and website usage, detailed file usage, incoming and outgoing chats and e-mails, internet connections, windows interacted with, internet packet data, desktop screenshots, software installations, and much more like this.The software can present all activities logged in easy-to-read graphical reports. Employers can set specific alerts to notify management when an employee performs a certain action or not meeting productivity goals.

Keystroke monitoring is perhaps one of the most invasive types of monitoring.Not every workforce, workplace, or work culture and the environment is a candidate for electronic surveillance at work.Actually, in some work environments, depending upon the culture and environment desired, electronic surveillance of employees would ensure trust, ensure relationships, and send powerfully wrong messages to the workforce.There are programs that generate reports detailing every key pressed on a keyboard. The companies that make the appliances to monitor employees cite uses for their products to stop leaking sensitive information, stop breaking laws, stop violating company policies, limit legal liability,  monitor and recover lost crucial communications to name a few.

Companies can implement easily the advance monitoring systems allowing the employer to monitor workers without their knowledge. The corporation may install hardware devices at the firewall that will track all electronic transactions.It can remotely install software made invisible to the computer user.The technology to monitor an employee’s activities is extremely sophisticated that is fully capable of exposing any action taken on a business computer. The practice of employee monitoring is in practice by large and small businesses throughout the world. It is also very important to note that employers are monitoring more than just computer usage, many also employ telephone and video monitoring.Many companies also observe employees using video surveillance equipment. Over the last couple of decades, devices that they are completely oblivious are recording an increasing number of events in every citizen’s daily lives. There is an all-out assault on tools including hardware, software, telephone systems, and video recordings that organizations are using to protect themselves and work to increase productivity.

Pros of Electronic Surveillance of Employees at Work

Powerful reasons exist to monitor employee online behavior at work. These reasons are compelling for many employers and are understandable as organizations are observed.A small manufacturing company, while using electronic surveillance of employees.It found out that an employee had been watching pornographic movies at work. He was walked from his cubicle to his car, just thirty minutes after HR discovered how he had been spending his time at work.Employees complained that their supervisor was surfing the web during most of the business day. The network administrator confirmed that the supervisor was visiting job board sites, doing online banking, shopping, chatting and posting on message boards, reading recipe sites, and spending hours in personal email for over six too many hours a day.

The employee gave notice and reached with the company an agreement about an orderly, mutually beneficial transition.Another experience in a small company, it was discovered that an employee had been doing her bookkeeping for a personal business on company time and in her company-provided computer. The employee gave notice and was escorted from the premises. The employee later begged to have this material back and the employer kindly provided the records.Electronic surveillance of employees at work can yield results that are beneficial to the employer. Note also that in none of these three companies was the electronic surveillance of employees practiced.Suspicious behavior by the employees in question prompted the review of electronic records.Many employers have the capacity to use electronic surveillance of employees but choose not to practice electronic surveillance.

Cons of Electronic Surveillance of Employees at Work

There are powerful reasons why an employer might not want to use electronic surveillance of employees. Manny Avramidis, senior vice president of global human resources for the AMA, says that this decision depends on the company and the work environment an employer wants to create:”Depending on the level of freedom allowed in a company or the type of employer, electronic surveillance of employees may not be desirable. Companies that employ new college grads, who have absolutely blurred lines and are online all day, are a suitable example. In fact, 99% of the population will be fine without electronic surveillance, there is fewer than one percent of employees are causing the damage that allows all of the bad stuff for employers to kick in.”

Avramidis said that electronic surveillance of employees can affect the relationship between an employer and an employee. “For the employee who is doing the right thing and focusing on work and using technology moderately for personal use, electronic surveillance will have no impact. For bad and lazy employees, electronic surveillance will put a strain on their relationship with their employer.”The major concern of some employers is the potential damage to a work culture that fosters trust and employee commitment and motivation. Electronic surveillance of employees appears incongruent with such an environment.According to Avramidis, “Employees judged on the results of their work are spending more time online doing personal things to manage the personal business. There is a cross-over between where work leaves off and the personal work begins. The concern becomes real for employers when an employee is not meeting goals, or not living up to expectations.”Employers can create complex problems when they monitor employees. Should employers be able to monitor their employers? If so, what should they be restricted to monitoring, and do the employees have the right to know that employers are monitoring them. Each of these questions creates a multifaceted response from both the employer’s side, as well as the viewpoint of the employee.

Workplace monitoring can be beneficial for an organization to obtain productivity and efficiency from its employees. The enormity of potential productivity loses, as reported by Court of 2004, is approximately one million dollars annually for a company with 500 employees surfing the Internet for just a half hour a day. Using these facts, if an employee spends two hours per day on the Internet, and the organization has 500 unmonitored employees, the potential annual loss could be nearly $4 million.

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