Do you ever get that feeling that your boss might be snooping in on your communications? You aren’t just being paranoid. The company is almost certainly monitoring your emails, web use, and messaging. They may even be tracking your movement throughout the day, phone calls, meetings, and even your facial expression.
Those are the findings of a new employer survey from software firm GetApp. They found that 72 per cent of bosses have access to their staff’s communications on internal devices: cell phones, laptops, network.
A further 90 per cent of employers surveyed said that they are okay with monitoring employees throughout the day. Only 10 per cent thought that this was a violation of staff privacy.
What are they listening for?
When asked why they feel the need to monitor employee conversations, survey participants said monitoring productivity was the main reason. They also wanted to endure that staff were complying with communications policies and they wanted to hear what employees were saying about the company.
Why employers say they monitor staff communications
- Monitor employee productivity (29%)
- Check if employees comply with communication policies (24.6%)
- Curious about what employees say about the company (22%)
- There is an incident that needs to be resolved (11.8%)
- Industry requires monitoring by law (11%)
- Other (0.9%)
Other ways companies track your behaviour
Euclid Analytics is a software provider for companies that allows them to track the number of people who attend company meetings using Wi-Fi to monitor them. This software is also used by retailers to rack the movements of shoppers throughout their businesses.
Some companies have started using the webcams on laptops to track employee facial expressions in order to see if people are feeling frustrated at work.
Employers increasingly monitor their workers’ use of social media – both to see if they are wasting company time interacting socially on the internet throughout the day as well as to ensure that their people aren’t engaging in any behaviour online that would reflect poorly on the company.
Bottom line. Anything you do on your work computer, phone, or internet network is fair game for your employer to scrutinize. Whether you’re at work or at home, those devices are still company property.
Your behaviour throughout the workday is also open to surveillance – you are on the company dime after all. So, don’t be working on your side projects, looking for other jobs, or streaming your favourite TV show at work. That’s time theft, and you will be caught.
Your online activities on your own time on your own computer are more of a grey area. However, if you can be identified as an employee of the company, and your public posts would make the company look bad, you are likely to find yourself in hot water at work. Conduct yourself accordingly.