Business is about profit-making. For most companies that are goal-oriented, the focus is on the efficient deployment of both the organization’s human and material resources in attaining organizational goals promptly.
There are two sides to the divide; employees are concerned about the nature of work, conditions of service and remuneration. Employers, however, are concerned with sales, marketing, operations and most importantly, profit. While the company focuses on meeting overall target; the employee’s primary concern is the need to earn a better income always.
On the one hand, some employers abuse staff privileges and conditions of service. On the other hand, some employees spend time meant for official duties on trivialities, contributing virtually nothing to the company’s goal. If given a chance, some employees would rather be paid something for nothing.
While it appears that employees are at work, some sit behind the computer carrying out non-work related functions. These could include: visiting different social network sites, playing online games and more; hence some companies employ the use of employee monitoring software.
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Employee monitoring is a control measure put in place to help organize the staff of company or organization towards the attainment of organizational objectives. It is a means to ensure conformity to company mode of operations, policy and work schedule. It contributes to reducing the amount of time spent doing unproductive activities during working hours; increasing productivity.
The use of employee monitoring software is a relatively young concept, but it sure has its benefits to the organization. But like every other thing, employee monitoring software also has its drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of deploying employee monitoring software into the workplace:
Pros on the use of employee monitoring software
According to salary.com survey, 64% of employees make use of non-work related website daily. When the employee understands that they are constantly supervised, not by an intermittent evaluation team, in this case, the chances are higher that they would give ample time to their work. With better concentration at work comes better output for the company.
Employees understand that staff assessment and evaluation are some of the keys to deciding promotions, termination of appointment, etc. Therefore, monitoring of workers sometimes leads to better performance.
Better Time Management
Every company has specific working hours. Even organizations that work round the clock like hospitals, media houses, military personnel, etc. work with specific hours. Based on this, staffs are shared at specific times during the day to carry out company operations. With time management software in place, employees understand that when on duty, whatever happens, is their responsibility.
According to a survey by the American Management Association, 65% of employers make use of filtering software to assess what the staffs do when on their system. Since the software can capture staff activities on the computer, it becomes easy to know the sites the team visit, whether social media, online shopping, dating and games site. This way, the company can know what sites to filter to avoid access by staff.
Better Administrative Work
Using employee monitoring application helps to reduce the administrative task the manager carries out. The software makes it possible to keep records of staff duties; hours they put in and how much is due to each person on that basis. It saves the employer the stress of manually keeping such records.
Gives room for Delegation
With a good employee monitoring software, it becomes a lot easier to measure staff performance. A good understanding of your employees makes it easier to know their strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge helps managers decide who is in the best position to carry out a particular task adequately.
Reduce risk of theft and litigation
According to AMA survey, about 48% of employers use employee monitoring tool to wade off theft and sabotage using video surveillance. Employee monitoring application allows the manager to monitor activities organization, invariably reducing losses owing to theft or litigation. Video surveillance allows the employer to apprehend offenders. There have been instances where theft occurs, and the video surveillance footage served as evidence to arrest the culprit.
Again, the software helps guard against the leakage of company secret or information to a competitor. With the monitoring of emails, websites visited; SMS and call logs; the employer can identify when such actions occur.
Promote safety and responsibility in the workplace
With surveillance, it becomes easier to identify individual security lapses before they become critical. The employer, through the monitoring software, can have a general overview of the entire work area though in bits; this can help identify areas where there are lapses early enough and then measures put in place to curb such lapses.
In promoting responsibility, surveillance would make even the floor managers and other administrators understand that they are under scrutiny. It puts the managers in a better position to dispense their administrative functions in line with organizational goals thus leading to efficiency in operations.
Cons on the using the software
Staffs work under pressure
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health identifies that monitoring employee activities at work has the potential to put staff under undue pressure. Such emotional strain on the workers can impact on their mental health in the long run.
American Psychological Association identifies that if a team feels unhappy at work, it could lead to depression and heart issues. When employees discover they are under surveillance, it creates a feeling of mistrust, resulting in poor mental well-being. This state of health could also be counterproductive to the organization’s advancement; affecting the relationship between the management and its employees negatively.
Lack of Privacy
Most employees like the thought of being at liberty to work without supervision and monitoring employees remove that feeling. Some employees argue that control kills their confidence level as it makes them feel incompetent. Invasion of privacy makes your team conscious of their immediate surroundings, such that they want to keep all personal belongings and activities out of sight.
As much as monitoring employees increase their productivity, the feeling of always being watched increases the stress on the staff and invariably leads to uneasiness.
Workers want to be sure they have some level of control on how they carry out company task, though in the interest of the enterprise. And so, the staff feel the need to unwind by socializing a bit, as a way to be in top spirit when he or she gets back to work.
As much as it is ok to keep tab of your staff’s activities using the monitoring software, the employer must thread with cautions to avoid certain privacy issues or going overboard. No law exists prohibiting the use of employee monitoring software, but the employer can inform staff of being monitored or ensure company pays for the purchase of the tools used to track staff. In other situations, the company can get the consent of staff before tracking devices.