When you enter an office, you sign away some of your personal freedoms. There are plenty of common privacy misconceptions, and many people fail to realize that if you’re on company time and a on company computer, your employer is permitted to read 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. 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 — just a little 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 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 offices and coffee breaks extended. But there are also some privacy concerns involved.
Some companies take it to another level by bringing employees’ social networks into the mix, causing some people to be terminated over things they said even if they weren’t logged in on company time. (Yet another reason to peruse the list of things you shouldn’t post on Facebook.) We’re entering a new age where bosses have more means to analyze and track employees, which may mean policies governing workers’ rights need to be taken into account. But everyone needs to be aware of what’s going on before policies can change. Here are a few ways your boss could be watching you.