Many companies feel the need to monitor their employees digital activity in the office, but is it a good idea?

Are you showing your employees that you trust them if you’re spying on them?

The answer is obviously no.

Treat your employees with the respect they deserve. Why do you care what they’re doing? If you believed enough in them to hire them, then you should trust that whatever they’re doing at their desks is probably fine.

Remember, trust is a two-way street. How can you expect employees to trust you if you don’t trust them?

Our friends at TechnologyAdvice put together a study to find out how employees really feel about all of this. If you’d like, you can download the full report, but I’ll highlight some of the key points.

  • More than a third of office workers don’t know their employers’ data monitoring policies
  • 64.3 percent of office employees would be uncomfortable with their cellphone being monitored
  • Employees under 35 are more uncomfortable with cellphone monitoring, but less likely to know how they are being monitored
  • 10.5 percent of employees report being questioned by a manager about their cellphone or computer usage

They also created a nice infographic to display the results of their study.

technology advice infographic

Can Monitoring Be Good For Business?

Yes and no.

According to a research paper that examined the effect of monitoring software in restaurants on employee behavior, revenue increased an average of $2,982 a week at each restaurant being looked at, which is a big gain in the restaurant industry (low-margins).

The employees, knowing they were being monitored, were more likely to promote more items to consumers, leading to higher bills and higher tips.

I personally would argue that the fear and stress of knowing that you’re being monitored isn’t worth the extra tips.

I think companies should be more trusting with employees.

Transparency At Work

One thing I really like is companies that make transparency a part of their business. What’s nice about this, is it removes the ugliness from the monitoring. Instead of secretly monitoring activity behind employees backs, everyone is accountable and can learn from each other.

Plus, it keeps everyone honest, knowing that anyone can see your activity.

One of the key statistics from the TechnologyAdvice report is that many employees don’t even know if they’re being monitored. There are many companies that monitor employees secretly.

Two companies that get transparency right are Buffer and Stripe, both amazing companies with great cultures.

They both have transparent email, and they both go into detail on how they make it work on each of their blogs:

I like this approach a lot. If you are a good employee, and you believe in the mission of the company, and are passionate about what they do, then you shouldn’t have anything to hide.

How Do You Handle Monitoring Your Employees?

Are you monitoring your employees? Let me know your thoughts.