More and more businesses are starting to track their employees’ internet usage to minimize time wastage and improve productivity. While this may raise questions regarding privacy, from a legal standpoint employers do have the right to track the internet use of their employees during working hours – subject to certain conditions.
If you’re thinking about starting to monitor employee internet usage with WorkExaminer, you may want to consider 3 important legal aspects in particular before you start:
- Understand the limitations and be reasonable
With WorkExaminer you will be able to monitor employees’ computers and track their internet usage and other activity easily. However it is important to understand the legal limitations of doing so, and be reasonable in deciding how you intend to monitor internet usage in particular.
Simply put while it is mostly legal to monitor employees on company computers and devices; that right does not extend to personal devices. Considering today most people own their own smartphones and tablets, these are exempt from monitoring – unless they connect to the company WiFi.
As such although you could use WorkExaminer to stringently track all internet usage and perhaps even filter or block social media and instant messaging platforms – employees will still be able to access them on their own devices. Adopting a more reasonable approach that is aware of these limitations will generally go down better with employees.
- Publish a written policy regarding monitoring
Ideally the best way to protect your business legally is to publish a written policy regarding what kind of monitoring is going to be performed with WorkExaminer. It should be detailed, and spell out the areas that are going to be monitored as well as the methods that will be used.
Keep in mind that WorkExaminer is capable of monitoring employees in numerous ways and can track websites that are visited, monitor software usage, take screenshots of employee desktops, record keystrokes, filter websites, and much more. As such the written policy should cover which of those types of monitoring are going to be introduced.
In some cases it may be best to publish a written policy regarding monitoring as part of a larger policy that covers the acceptable use of internet and device usage. The benefit of that approach is that it provides a clearer definition of what employees are permitted to do – and acts as a precursor to any legal challenge.
- Inform employees
Depending on the jurisdiction you’re in, it may be legally required that you inform employees that their internet usage is being monitored. However regardless of whether it is a legal requirement or not – it is a good idea nonetheless.
By informing employees regarding monitoring, it is likely to decrease improper internet usage. Additionally the transparency will help to reduce any issues with morale, especially if employees are briefed on the company’s monitoring policy and why it exists.
When informing employees, highlight exactly how WorkExaminer will be monitoring their internet usage – and why. Explain what is acceptable and unacceptable internet use, and how WorkExaminer will be used to monitor that company time and resources are not being wasted in order to increase productivity.
That should cover the three most important legal aspects of monitoring employee internet usage with WorkExaminer. It should be noted that because difference jurisprudences have different laws regarding monitoring, it is critical that you find out more about any legal issues that are specific to the one that you’re in. That being said if you cover all your bases as recommended above, you should be on pretty solid ground.
Read also: Bad Boss? Don’t Get Cross – Read This Guide