Monitoring staff at work: Know your rights

Monitoring staff at work is a tricky subject.

If you are a business owner you want to keep your company secure but you don’t want to annoy your workers or make them feel like you don’t trust them.

So, when should you keep an eye on your staff’s IT activity? And are you even allowed to do it?

To help you out we’ve put together everything you need to know about monitoring your staff at work…

Why would you want to monitor your workers’ activity?

As a business owner you will probably want to keep on eye on what your staff are up to and it is no different on the internet.

Workers using company property to visit dodgy sites could lead to a whole raft of legal issues.

There is also the worry that if they do visit those sites then they will be leaving the business susceptible to hackers – especially if they download unsafe files.

Also, if a member of staff downloads dodgy material they could be exposing your system to malicious malware.

Finally, you might want to monitor your staff if you suspect them of being an insider threat – which could lead to loss of data, customer confidence and money.

Is monitoring staff at work legal and what are my rights?

To safely monitor your workers’ computer activity you have to be able to justify it.

Your employees have rights at work and if you go against them you could be opening yourself up to a lot of trouble.

The staff could potentially take you to an employment tribunal or complain to the information commissioner.

To combat against this you must make sure anyone you are monitoring is aware you are doing so.

You could do this by including it in an employee handbook or by sending them an email.

You also need to tell them why you are keeping track.

However, there are times when you can secretly monitor your staff.

If you suspect them of breaking a law (and telling them you are watching would make it harder to detect them) then you are allowed to track without their knowledge.

However, you can only do this as part of a specific investigation and once it is over you must stop.

What measures can I take to keep track of my company’s staff?

There are many ways of monitoring staff at work with the simplest including CCTV and searching staff members’ work areas.

However, if you want to go a step further then you could keep records of phone calls and log their internet usage.

It is also possible to get hold of monitoring software, which will be able to do the work for you.

Monitoring staff at work: The final conclusion

There are obvious benefits to keeping track of your staff’s activities at work.

By doing so you could be saving your business especially if you believe someone to be breaking a law or jeopardising your business by going in dodgy websites.

However, protect yourself and make sure all your staff know what is going on unless it makes it harder to detect them breaking a law.