The Benefits of Ethical Employee Monitoring

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The biggest investment a business makes is in its employees. It is fair to say that employees are the lifeblood of a business. Business owners are rightly interested in what their employees do when they are on the clock. There are two reasons for this. First, they are interested in making sure that their employees are doing the work that they are being paid to do. Second, they are interested in guaranteeing that their employees are not engaging in activities that could damage the employer’s reputation or that could make the employer liable for some form of legal action.

Employer’s have an established right to track the way their employees use their time when online. There are countless accounts of employers firing employees for misusing their time or using their time on the Internet to engage in nefarious activities.

This is especially important for companies like law firms that bill their clients by the hour. They need to know that their lawyers are doing the work that they are getting paid to do. Many businesses will turn to websites like: when they notice that their employees are hiding their screen, arriving to work late, or are engaging in potentially dangerous activities.

Of course, employee monitoring must be done within the boundaries set by legal and ethical standards. The law limits what an employer can monitor, even if the employee is using a company’s computer. Additionally, when employers monitor the behavior of their employees, they set themselves up for some sticky ethical dilemmas. For example, what would happen if an employer noticed that their employee was sending emails to and from their spouse, detailing marital problems? Would the fact that the employer had this information affect the way that they view and treat the employee?

Another thing to consider is how the employees will react when they know that the time they come into work, the time they leave their desk, and their activities online are being monitored. Depending on how an employer goes about handling these situations, they could create a very sticky and uncomfortable work environment that may actually negatively affect morale.

In most cases, employers who are upfront with their employees and let them know that they are going to be monitoring them are the ones who have the best results. When employees know that their online activity, their arrival time, and their departure time is monitored, they are more likely to behave in a way that is in harmony with the culture of the business they are working for. If in the future something is brought to their attention as a result of their computer activity being monitored, the employee is not surprised, nor are they offended.