When you enter an office, you sign away some of your personal freedoms. If you’re on company time and a on company computer, your employer is permitted to invade your emails, log your keystrokes, and watch you work. It’s an invasion of privacy to be sure, but employers have been giving employees fair warning on what they’ll be monitoring when you’re at work. HR usually does this on day one, having you sign a paper acknowledging you’ll be monitored. It almost resembles a Terms of Service Agreement you might click to accept to use iTunes — only less dense and difficult to read.
“Employees should assume that they are going to be watched,” said CEO Stephen Marsh to USA Today.
Employers monitor employees on the premise that if they know where and what their workers are doing, they can increase productivity. There’s a whole science dedicated to workplace analysis, after all. Some studies have found that workers benefit from increased social interaction, which has caused cubicles to become open office benches and coffee breaks extended. But there’s also a bad side to these studies, which have caused privacy concerns.
Some companies take it to another level by bringing employees’ social networks into the mix, causing some people to be terminated over what was said — even if they were not using it on company time. We’re entering a new age where bosses have more means to analyze and track employees, which may mean policy’s governing workers’ rights need to be taken into account. But awareness needs to be built before policies can change. Here are a few ways your boss could be watching you.