What is monitoring in the workplace?

Employee monitoring technology is becoming more common in the workplace. Before you install it, be sure you know the laws surrounding its use. Employers can use employee monitoring technology to track their staff’s real-time locations and activities. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is a federal law that gives employers the right to monitor their employees’ verbal and written communications under certain circumstances. There are also some state laws that regulate this activity. Transparency in your employee monitoring practices is important to make your employees feel more secure and protect your business from potential legal action.

This article is for employers who want to implement employee monitoring solutions and learn how to avoid legal issues in the process.
From eliminating distractions to adding technological automation, there are numerous ways businesses can improve workplace productivity. One method is the use of surveillance and tracking software. Workplace privacy and employee monitoring technologies have become more prevalent in recent years, especially as the rapid growth of digital technology has streamlined the use of surveillance platforms. If you plan to use this type of technology, though, it is important to understand how federal and state laws affect it and how to best implement these tools in your business.

“Employee monitoring” refers to the methods employers use to surveil their workplaces and their staff members’ whereabouts and activities. These methods include employee monitoring software, time clocks, video surveillance, GPS systems and biometric technology. Video surveillance, for example, can strengthen your business’s security and productivity. Catching a thief on camera certainly reduces shrinkage costs. Employee tracking and monitoring systems serve other important purposes. The main goals behind them are to prevent internal theft, examine employee productivity, ensure company resources are being used appropriately, and provide evidence for any potential litigation.

One category of employee monitoring technology, time and attendance software, is often seen as an entirely separate set of tools. Time and attendance systems give your business a record of when employees work and take paid time off that is valuable not only for payment calculations, but in case a dispute over hours or vacation time ever become a lawsuit. These digital systems also provide an accurate record of when employees start and end their day, which can help you determine productivity levels. [Interested in a time and attendance system? Check out our best picks.]

Beyond simple video surveillance in the workplace, you can equip company computers with employee monitoring software or, if your team’s duties revolve around driving, install GPS fleet tracking hardware in your company vehicles.

Regardless of the technology they use, some business owners may not know how far they can or should extend their authority to monitor employee activity. It’s always best to turn to federal and state employee monitoring laws and regulations to establish limits.

Key takeaway: Through employee monitoring technology, employers can surveil their workplaces and track their staff members’ real-time locations and activities when they’re on the clock.

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