There is no denying the fact that employers are legally allowed to monitor the online activities of their employees and staff members. The various reasons that justify this practice include not only the safety and security of the organization but also the need to curb activities that are carried on just for fun and personal entertainment during work hours. However, employers also need to take the responsibility of using the internet monitoring tools in a legal and ethical manner for them to be truly effective in enhancing productivity. This requires the employers to follow the ethical guidelines of implementing web monitoring tools within their office. The three most important of these guidelines are discussed below.
1. Establish Internet Usage Policies In Writing
Most often employers fail to notify the employees of what is acceptable in terms of internet usage during work hours and the penalties that defaulters would face. This is extremely important to create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust within the organization. Making allowances for limited use of personal mails, instant messaging services or even casual web surfing can go a long way in creating an atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust. At the same time, the internet monitoring policies and the penalties for employees found abusing the system should also be made clear, preferably in writing.
2. Making Sure That The Workforce Is Aware of The Monitoring Tools
Involving the workforce in the setting up of monitoring tools is definitely a great way to maximize productivity. Making the employees aware of the installation of internet monitoring tools tends to have a better deterring effect on their casual web surfing habits. It also makes the employees more self conscious of their own performance within the organization, causing them to focus more on work rather than lazing around. In fact, it has been observed those organizations that explain the risks of improper use of digital assets and the importance of maintaining a complaint workplace to the employees prior to setting up the web monitoring tools, tend to have better productivity than the ones that implement online monitoring without employee consent.
3. Use Tools That Focus More On Monitoring Rather Than Prying
There is a very fine line between just monitoring the employees and prying into their personal lives and many times the employers are tempted to cross this line. The best way to avoid such situations is to use internet monitoring tools that simply notify the employers when an unauthorized site has been accessed. This not only helps in bringing down the operational costs of web monitoring tools but also ensures a more transparent monitoring system that focuses on enhancing employee productivity and performance. The risk of creating friction between the management and the employees is also reduced as the employees do not feel threatened and insecure that they every online move is being watched.
Employers need to be aware about the various pitfalls of web monitoring and in order to avoid problems like hurting the morale of employees, following ethical guidelines is a must.