08 Nov, 2017

Should You Be Monitoring Your Employees’ Computers?


As an employer, it is important to be aware of what your employees are doing, in order to motivate them, when needed, or just to simply have a clear understanding about what is going on in your business.

From an employees perspective, it is important to meet the expectations of your employer and to carry out the tasks at hand for that day. When it comes to this, productivity is key and goes a long way. Being unproductive can cause tasks to go unfinished, delay the progress of the business, and create problems.

But, what if your boss could see you at your most unproductive times? Would it motivate you, or make you feel like your privacy is violated? Would you be more productive, or continue to be unproductive? Well, a company called Crossover seems to think it will drive productivity onward.

Crossover has created a tool that is called WorkSmart which can take photos of employers’ workstations, and even track how many apps are being used as well as keystrokes, that provides employers data revealing the patterns that employees take part in, such as how often they log onto social media or use private messaging apps.

This tool was created with the idea in mind that employers have the right to understand what is going on with their employees as long as they are paying for their time and in most cases, computers. It is simply putting employers on the right track toward productivity, which at the end of the day, is the goal for everyone, right?

“If you are a parent and you have a teenage son or daughter coming home late and not doing their homework you might wonder what they are doing. It’s the same as employees,” said Brad Miller, CEO of Awareness Technologies, which sells a package of employee monitoring tools under the brand Interguard. The Guardian reports. 

Just How Productive Are Your Employees?

With the talk of surveillance surfacing in the workforce, it brings forward the questions, just how productive are employees? Is it really necessary to monitor them? If they aren’t being productive, and wasting the company’s time, then is this necessary?

Since data is so accessible to us more than ever before, it is easy to track the way employees work simply by looking at browser history or having access to company emails. According to CIO Dive and ABC News, companies do monitor their employees’ emails and phone records too.

“However, close to 80% of companies admit to monitoring employees’ emails, internet, and phone records, reports ABC News. Of the approximately 1,600 surveyed organizations, more than 25% of companies have fired employees for “misusing” inappropriate email content or internet usage.” CIO Dive reports. 

So, since employees are not using emails or the internet to the benefit of the company, many employers are taking the initiative to track and monitor computer behavior. Many employers are sticking to data that only involves the company and issues at hand, while others are interested in a broader sense of tracking.

Crossover’s software is so unique and specific, that it can even track what employees are discussing non-work related topics, like alcohol, or drug use. According to The Guardian, Crossover can “tell the difference between smoking weed in the backyard and weeding the backyard”.

As we enter a world that is digitally focused, individuals are migrating toward tools like social media and instant messaging to interact. This changes the way the employees conduct work and interact with one another, which draws these concerns. Employee and employer relationships are changing as digital tools are integrated into companies. This topic can be highly debated among both parties, and it will continue as technology, and software, evolves.


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