As a manager, it can be hard to keep an eye on each one of your employees especially if you run a large business, are off the premises regularly or if you have staff that work remotely.
One of your biggest worries can often be that your staff are either being overworked – and not being recognised for it – or not working hard enough.
But is “excessive” surveillance really the answer?
56% of workers, according to a report by the TUC, believe that they are probably being monitored whilst at work.
49% say their employer is likely to be monitoring their emails, files and browser history, 45% said they think they are being watched on CCTV and 42% believe that their calls are being logged and recorded.
This may just be a case of paranoia in a time where it has almost become the norm to be followed by cameras and tracked wherever you go (in fact, recent research has shown that the average person in the UK is likely to get caught on CCTV camera 70 times a day).
However, it does hold some weight as modern technology has made it somewhat easier to discreetly keep an eye on employees.
Yet, with introductions of new privacy laws such as GDPR, employers should be warier of discreet surveillance and, instead, embrace a more open and honest approach.
You may be able to make the argument that certain methods of surveillance, such as CCTV cameras, are in the best interests of your staff, particularly if you or some neighbours have recently had a break-in or any reason to believe that your employees’ safety is at risk.
In these circumstances, you should conduct an impact assessment and display clear signs that indicate to your employees that they are being watched
By providing open communication and clear boundaries, your employees are less likely to feel violated or any distrust towards you.
Though there is no law against installing CCTV cameras in the workplace and monitoring your staff inside and outside of work, you should always consider alternative methods of surveillance.
How You Can Keep A Closer Eye on Your Employees at Work
You should always respect your employees’ rights to privacy, but you also have a right to monitor their performance and workload. However, there are less controversial methods of monitoring your staff besides camera surveillance, recording phone conversations or checking their browser history.
- There are dozens of online systems that can track your employees’ efficiency throughout the day by having them complete a timesheet or activity log at the end of each day stating what they did every hour that they were at work
- You could install a check in and check out system using a key card to ensure that breaks are not being taken over the allotted time and that people are not walking in late or sneaking out early when you are not in the office
- Conduct more regular 1-1 meetings with each of your employees so you can discuss performance and workload. This is especially important for staff that work remotely who may require a five-minute catch-up call at the end of each day to see how they are getting on and to make sure that they are finishing on time and not overworking
- GPS tracking (only on during work hours) on a company car or work phone if you have employees that work remotely/travel for work. This will allow you to ensure that employees are not sneaking off to the cinema or doing their weekly food shop instead of working. Plus, it is a great health and safety tool as you will know the whereabouts of remote or lone working staff who may be in danger
- If you have suspicions about workers spending time on Facebook or ASOS instead of doing work, then you can block certain sites. An issue may arise when certain employees need to access these sites as part of their job e.g. marketeers need to access social media
Bear in mind that any sort of monitoring can seem intrusive and there will always be employees who feel uncomfortable about it, so before you make any decisions or changes to the business, you should always discuss it with your staff first, carry out an impact assessment and get their thoughts and feedback.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding monitoring your staff, then please call us on 0845 2626 260 and we can connect you to one of our professional HR consultants