Spying on employees legally is not a new trend, but has become technologically easier to accomplish. Gone are the days of looking over an employee’s shoulder and listening in on break-room gossip. To protect your profit margins and peace of mind, here are five tips on how to legally spy on your employees.
- Research and learn about privacy laws. Laws regarding individual rights to privacy vary from country to country, and state to state. Before you implement a policy, make sure you have the right by law to do so. Also, notify your employees of any policy changes by updating your employment handbook. It is important for both old and new employees to understand their rights, what you expect in the workplace and the consequences if they violate any policies.
- Monitor computer usage. As owner of the equipment your staff uses, in most cases you have the legal right to conduct spot checks by randomly reviewing email and Internet traffic. There are software packages available for purchase which monitors computer use, filtering out or alerting you of inappropriate activities. Many companies also conduct computer searches during regular computer maintenance cycles and delete any unauthorized company software or files such as games or music.
- Make the books accountable. Require expense reports biweekly or monthly and mandate employees keep receipts of all business transactions made on your behalf, or for travel or other business-related expenses. Receipts provide not only a written record of a transaction, but also provide a date and time stamp as well.
- Conduct random Internet searches by employee name. This is a legal and great way to spy on the loyalty and morale of an employee. Typing a person’s first and last name in quotation marks using any search engine is accessing public information. People often write personal musings about their jobs on their social pages, or blogs, and post their resumes online if they are seeking other employment.
By using the methods above, you can legally spy on your employee’s activities without being overly obtrusive while maintaining your own security and work place ethic standards.