Should You Monitor Your Employees Online?

Big Brother inside the confines of your office space — a vanity or a necessity? 

Today, we live in a highly accessible society where data is made available to anyone and everyone. Yet, when it comes to business, this is not always a good thing. The idea that an employee handling sensitive client and personnel information can so easily distribute data over the Internet is not a pleasant one. Hence, this ‘totalitarian regime’ doesn’t sound all that bad when you just think about all the potential benefits you can reap; if anything, it will help you sleep more soundly at night.

Still not convinced?

Well then, here are some four major reasons why you should consider monitoring your employees online to change your mind.

Protecting Sensitive Data

When running a successful business, keeping your vital data safe should be your primary concern. Trade secrets, client data, and sensitive business information can easily fall into the hands of your close competitors due to negligent data breaches. 

Plot twist — your employees are the most likely candidates for these data leaks. 

According to a recent survey, as many as 79% of IT managers stated that they blame their own employees for putting sensitive company data at risk in the past 12 months, and some 61% believe that this was done on purpose. 

Hence, it’s only prudent to protect your valuable business data from careless or disgruntled employees that may seek to cause harm to your company. Monitoring their online activities is one of the best ways to stop them from leaking sensitive information over the Internet; maliciously or otherwise. 

Improving Employee Productivity

There’s nothing worse than an unproductive employee. It’s not only bad for your bottom line but the end-product is usually sloppy as well. As a result, there is a huge drop in quality and customer satisfaction levels plummet in the process. So, how exactly do you stop your employees from procrastinating?

Well, one neat way of combating this issue is to use an effective web filter to ward off any (and all) distractions your employees may come across during their time on the Internet. That way you greatly minimise their access to non-work-related sites and effectively put an end to their procrastinating habits during working hours (once and for all). What’s more, with URL filters in place, your employees will have no other choice but to focus more on their work instead of just aimlessly surfing the Internet, increasing their productivity in the process. 

Other notable applications include traffic and information control, wireless network management, behavioural analysis, and more. 

Putting a Stop to Cyber-Harassment 

Workplace violence is yet another thing that plagues the offices of many a brand. Most commonly, it takes the form of verbal abuse done over the Internet. According to one survey, around 19% of women and 13% of men report being harassed in the workplace. Still, many more remain silent either due to fear or because they’re being threatened. 

Now, by monitoring your employees’ online activities, you can successfully put an end to this cyber-bullying during working hours. That way, employees that usually don’t get along well won’t be able to intimidate or threaten each other via email or instant messaging without you knowing. In the end, you’ll be able to cut the violence at its roots, creating a safer — and more pleasant — environment for your workers. 

Don’t just turn a blind eye — cyber-harassment in the workplace is very real, and extremely toxic; get it out of your system ASAP.  

Avoiding Any Potential Legal Issues

Speaking of harassment, sexual harassment allegations can spell the end for your small business. The main thing with these claims is that, quite often, they spread like wild-fire over social media and the like, making them dangerous not just for your bottom line but for your overall image as well. 

Hence, to avoid any costly lawsuits — keep a close eye on your employees’ Internet use. Even a simple sexually suggestive video circling around the office can portray your business in remarkably poor light; especially so during a sexual harassment case where it can be used as evidence against you. 

So, be smart and discourage this type of (inappropriate) behaviour from festering in your workplace. Consequently, you’ll end up with much better company culture and your workers will be ever grateful for it.

At the end of the day, all your efforts will be for nought if you don’t come clean with your employees first. Your web monitoring should primarily work as a deterrent and not as an invasion of their privacy. Make sure that they are fully aware of the tracking policies you’ve put in place and wholly in compliance with them. Otherwise, you might be causing more legal mischief than you are averting.

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