Can I Check Up on My Team Through Their Webcams?

One of the biggest pain points that companies have to consider for remote workers is how productive they are actually being with their time. To solve this dilemma, some employers are opting to use the webcams installed on their employees’ devices to keep tabs on them. While we understand the idea of monitoring your team, perhaps using the webcam to spy on them is not the best way to approach this concept.

Today’s Workers are More Concerned about Privacy Than Ever

Privacy has been ingrained into the public awareness, and while not everyone adheres to the best practices associated with individual privacy, it’s still considered pretty important. Some people might look at the idea of a boss digitally checking up on them and scoff at the idea, especially if they think they deserve privacy in their own home.

There are various protections in place that protect personal privacy, like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), but the practical use of this varies according to context. Some of these protections might vary according to the business’ location, too, instead opting to protect the business rather than the consumer.

Why a Company Would Monitor its Employees in the First Place

There are several reasons why a business might want to watch an employee using company technology, and they range from security concerns to distrust. Naturally, the idea of being monitored by your employer comes with pretty strong feelings. Here are the feelings that ExpressVPN recorded from a survey of 2000 workers:

  • 59 percent of those surveyed felt increased anxiety and stress when being digitally monitored by their organization
  • 43 percent saw this kind of monitoring as a violation of trust
  • 36 percent attributed feeling pressure to work longer hours due to it
  • 28 percent claimed monitoring practices made them feel underappreciated

Monitoring is certainly not a new concept, but remote work has brought it into a whole new perspective. While supervisors could easily keep tabs on employees while they were in the office, it’s much harder to do this in a remote setting. This is why 78 percent of employers are tracking their employees, with 73 percent using recordings collected during this tracking to inform the performance reviews they would conduct on their team members.

Does an Employer Even Have the Right to Monitor Employees?

Even if there isn’t much of a valid reason to monitor an employee, the employer doesn’t really need one. It’s frequently included in employee handbooks, meaning that an employee consents to it as a condition of their employment with the company.

How Can an Employer Balance How They Monitor Their Team?

While the employer has the right and the ability to monitor their employees, there is, however, a line that should not be crossed. Certain tools can be used to provide varying levels of oversight into the company’s operations, collecting keystrokes and capturing screens, or even application monitoring. You can use these screens to evaluate your team’s performance and use the data to make difficult decisions a little more manageable.

Communication is Essential

Ultimately, if it’s not handled appropriately, monitoring can be more harmful than good, and it can make even a well-connected team feel isolated and disempowered. Instead of checking up on them in the background, be open and up-front about it.

At the End of the Day, It’s a Question of Trust

Ultimately, the amount of monitoring you do will depend on how much you think your staff can stay diligent and on-task; remember, nobody likes working when they have someone constantly breathing down their neck.

SRS Networks can equip your business with the tools it needs to keep employees on-task and productive. To learn more, reach out to us at (831) 758-3636.

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