Who’s Watching? Employee Monitoring Techniques and Examples

Employee Monitoring
We wrote last year about national newspaper The Telegraph which came under fire for its employee monitoring practices. It installed tracking devices under its employee’s desks which it claimed were for making the building more energy efficient, but in reality tracked whether people were sitting at their stations or not. 

There was huge outcry among journalists resentful about their desk-time being tracked and the newspaper eventually removed the little black boxes. There are numerous ways that companies track their staff now though, and we’ve got some below.

 Common Ways to Track Staff

Firms are able to check letters sent via company email to monitor their staff. Where companies give their employee’s a mobile phone, this too can be tracked using GPS. Additionally software can be installed on an employee’s computer that logs keystrokes and browsing history can also be looked at.

Given how open today’s individuals are with social media and other online sharing, it’s possible to glean an awful lot of information about someone’s work habits from this channel too.

Monitoring Examples

Some specific examples of companies monitoring their employees taken from this piece by RecruitingBlogs include;
  • Hospitals: In some instances nurses wear special badges to track how often they wash their hands.
  • Amazon: Warehouse employees carry tablets to track their movements and efficiency in collecting orders.
  • UPS: The delivery service’s trucks are installed with sensors to track their every movement.
  • Supermarkets: A point of sale system tracks cashier speed when scanning groceries. This is also in place at McDonalds.

To Monitor, or Not To Monitor?

Such monitoring is intended to protect the company and maximise productivity. However it can incite feelings of mistrust among employees who find it intrusive and unnecessary.

In a world where privacy is more rare and more valuable than before, should employers monitor employee activity more, or less? In one way trusting employees can make them work more effectively, in another way monitoring them can improve productivity. What do you think?