In this article we take a look at how companies are monitoring their employees work activity. Today, there’s a concern that employee privacy in America is at stake, because of corporate surveillance technology. There’s been a resurgence of technology that enables businesses to track, listen and also keep an eye on their employees during company time. In a sense, the technology has become a kind of big brother. The technology has raised concerns over privacy. Privacy advocates are concerned about the technology not being exercised carefully, which means workers may be at risk of forfeiting their sense of privacy during working hours.

An interesting survey was conducted in 2018 regarding corporate surveillance. The survey found 22 percent of organizations around the globe in different industries were using employee-movement data. In addition, 17 percent were monitoring their computer use data, and 16 percent were tracking their email and calendar via programs such as Microsoft Outlook.

Although industries are beginning to implement this technology, there is a sense that privacy laws are currently playing catch-up. Employers are in favor of the technology, because they believe the data helps boost their productivity. However, employees have risen a concern over their invasion of privacy. Currently, in the workplace most consumer privacy laws can be waived. Regardless if companies offer the employees an option whether to participate or not, it’s not difficult to force their employees to agree, unless a law goes into effect.

Even though employers do see a benefit in monitoring their employees’ activity, they fear a backlash. Because of this concern, there has been some resistance with the technology. The fear of retaliation and of mishandling data is fairly prevalent. According to a recent survey, about 62 percent of executives have mentioned their companies are utilizing the technology to collect data on their employees. The collection of data includes the quality of work to safety and also employee well-being. It is worth mentioning, that fewer than a third felt comfortable and confident with the appropriate collection of data. A survey was conducted from an employee’s perspective and it was noted that 92 percent of employees didn’t mind sharing their data if it helped them improve their job performance.

Finally, companies are advised to “co-own” data with employees and implement policies to ensure data collection is being used in an ethical manner.

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash