Starting a new job and finding out that your employer is using a software for monitoring employee computer use can be a bit of a shock. This type of surveillance, just like probably any other type, has many negative associations attached to it. Most of these, however, are grounded in misconceptions and false beliefs.
In fact, employee computer monitoring software, such as for example Workpuls, can be extremely informative for managers and they use a lot of this data to boost productivity and efficiency. Only using the software to spy on computer activity for the sake of spying without employees’ knowledge is extremely rare and largely frowned upon, even among managers.
So, in order to eliminate some of your fears and concerns, we’re presenting you a list of five very common myths and misconceptions about employee tracking software.
1. Employee Monitoring Is Illegal
OK, in all fairness, this sort of depends on where you live and work. But for the huge majority of countries, including the US and most European countries, this is false.
Basically, the logic is this: If your employer gives you a computer to work on, provides the network or any other equipment, and you’re essentially working on business projects, files as well as handle client data, then your employer has every right to know what is going on with these files on their corporate computer. Makes sense, right?
Now, does he have the right not to tell you about employee computer monitoring? Well, this is where the differences among different countries get bigger. Some governments allow it, others allow it only in certain situations where there’s reasonable doubt that an individual poses a threat to company’s data security. In some cases, employers are obliged to give prior notice to all employees, while sometimes it might be mandatory to ask for their consent.
So, if you want to be super sure, check what the specific laws in your country or state are. But chances are that it’s perfectly legal and you have nothing to worry about.
2. Employers Will Be Able to See My Every Move
This is another thing that will typically depend on the type of software that tracks computer usage. Some solutions are just basic time trackers, while others are all-encompassing security and activity trackers.
The former ones might only be able to tell your employers which apps you’re using are how long it takes you. The latter ones may be able to record videos of your activity and track your keystrokes. And then, of course, there’s everything in between.
However, the real question you should be asking is whether or not your employers are really going to look at every detail of your performance. The most powerful computer system monitoring software is also the most expensive one and is mostly used by large corporations. If you’re working in one of them, with 5,000+ other employees, you can almost be sure that CEOs aren’t going to track your every keystroke. That would be a huge waste of their time.
Provided you aren’t doing or planning to do anything illegal or harmful to your company, your employer is probably more interested in aggregated data and general trends and not every single screenshot of your monitor.
3. Employee Monitoring Is a Sign of Distrust
This is usually the first thing that crosses any employee’s mind when they find out about the monitoring. And it’s usually very far from the truth.
First of all, even in a situation where computer activity recording software is used for data protection, it’s not because the employer doesn’t trust you as an individual, or even that they distrust the workforce as a whole. It’s just another layer of security to protect their confidential business and client data. So unless you’re planning to leak company information, you have no reason to feel distrusted and hurt.
Secondly, employers are also interested in analyzing your performance so that they can guide you towards improvement, not spy on you and read your Facebook feed (again, that would be an extreme waste of time). And this brings us to our next myth:
4. Computer Monitoring Only Helps Employers
Sure, it’s not like they don’t get anything out of it, it helps them with protecting data and it gives them direct overview of their workers’ performance, but they’re not the only ones who benefit.
In the best case scenario, you’ll have access to your own data. This can be extremely valuable. You can see what your distractions are, what time of day you’re most productive, how long it takes you to finish certain tasks and much more. Use this to increase your productivity and optimize your time management. Your employer will recognize the improvement too.
The less optimal situation is that you can’t see your data. However, your employer will use it to evaluate you and give you actionable advice on how to improve. So you should listen and act on it. After all, this is all based on hard, objective and accurate data. And even if your employer doesn’t share the data so readily, you can always try and ask them to.
It’s our hope that this article has made some things clear for you. Many of the awful and scary things you thought about employee computer usage monitoring are fundamentally false, at least in most cases. We know it’s not going to be fun at first, but in this day and age you should learn how to live with employee tracking and how to get the most of it.