Monitoring your employees: No easy answers

As the owner of a small business, you have the technology available to find out what Web sites your workers visit while sitting at their desks. You are able to monitor how they use Twitter and Facebook. You can even tap into their smart phones to figure out where they physically are during the day. But just because you can do this, it doesn’t mean that you should.

The monitoring debate

Thomas Claburn, editor-at-large with InformationWeek, recently tackled the debate over employee monitoring in a recent online feature. In it, he quoted a wide range of experts, all of whom could understand why employers would want to use new tech to monitor their employees. However, these experts also contended that too much monitoring is counterproductive.

Different levels

If you run a package-delivery service, it might be OK to use new tech to monitor the position of your drivers, Claburn writes. And he points to the lower level of worker theft after Dunkin’ Donuts started monitoring employees. But how about tracing the location of a company-issued smartphone even when the employee using that phone is off work? Employers, Claburn writes, should probably avoid this.

The end of privacy?

A source quoted by Claburn, though, sums up the downside of this lack of privacy. The source says that when employers trust employees, they are rewarded with worker behavior that is worthy of such trust. Sadly, in today’s tech age, trust on the part of both employers and employees appears to be declining.


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