Employee Internet Usage Monitoring
Internet is undoubtedly an essential tool for organizations to access technology and the importance of internet usage has become even more profound for remote workers. However, with so many distractions on the internet, employees can misuse company time surfing irrelevant or inappropriate websites. A Forbes article states that employees spend at least 10 hours of their working week as idle time on non-work-related internet activities. As a result of all of this, a lot of paid hours go to waste and employee monitoring becomes a necessity.
Employee monitoring is a tracking method, usually through monitoring software or web filtering, to watch what an employee does while at work. With effective employee monitoring solutions, data-informed decisions can be made when managing employee productivity and enforcing employee internet usage policies. Moreover, employee monitoring software can help identify unproductive employees wasting work time on social media, computer games, and other distractions. Employee monitoring can reveal behavior analytics that allows organizations to optimize performance and productivity. Additionally, employee tracking can also be used to monitor health and wellness, and improve engagement.
Related Content: Are Employers Allowed To Track Employee Vehicles?
Can My Employer See My Internet Activity?
The short answer is yes your employer can use various workplace surveillance software and hardware to record everything you do online. Monitoring internet usage and seeing websites visited by employees is completely possible for an employer. Today’s employee monitoring solutions use sophisticated tracking technologies, like geolocation, keystroke logging, screenshots, video recording, and even access to web cams installed on remote personal to extract as much information about employees as possible. All this data is stored via cloud computing and can be run through complex algorithms to anticipate insider threats, measure individual and team productivity, as well as retrace various steps leading to any problems or data leaks. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ways companies will monitor employee internet activity to see how workers are spending their time while in the office!
Top 5 Ways How Employers Monitor Internet Activity
- Restricting unwanted websites. The most obvious solution is content filtering by restricting employees’ access to unproductive websites such as various social media sites. This can be done by blocking sites after evaluating web activity of users. This method is only effective if done individually for each employee since restriction to social media websites for all employees could be detrimental to the work of some.
- Using time tracking software. Such tools let employers easily monitor their staff’s activities, application usage, and productivity tracking during work hours. Employers and employees can both know idle time spent and an instant message alerts employees to stop them from wasting company time.
- Using Internet monitoring software. Employee monitoring becomes easy with this as tracking software provides employers with a wealth of useful functions. They can see specific trends and the extent to which the internet is used at a glance.
- Bandwidth Monitoring. Employers can keep a check on the employee’s bandwidth utilization to figure out company bandwidth abuses, visits to inappropriate websites, or usage of unauthorized software on company computers. Thus, it is essential for protecting sensitive information and mitigating security risks through threat detection.
- Keeping eyes on employees. Besides using employee monitoring technology, the leadership team of an organization can monitor the internet usage of their employees by taking screen captures and video recordings of their web activity.
Related Content: How Companies Track Vehicle Fleets
What Tools Are Used For Employee Monitoring And Tracking?
For effectively monitoring employees, organizations will make use of various time tracking and employee productivity measuring software. Time tracking and productivity measuring are relatively easier and keep both the employers and employees in the loop. The time spent by an employee on different applications is determined, followed up by sorting applications into productive and unproductive app groups so that benchmarks can be set for how productive each team, department, or individual employee is expected to be. Advanced activity scoring algorithms make it possible to measure individuals against their past performance as well as against that of their peers. This data collected is used for helping employees, leadership teams, and the remote workforce teams to course-correct and stay productive.
Employers also opt for deep monitoring platforms that track all employee activity. Such software tracks use smart monitoring features such as keystroke logging, location tracking, and screenshots. In addition to that, employee monitoring software can aggregate keystrokes and sync them to video recordings to form a more accurate picture of employee activity. As a result, employers can view the full context of what employees were doing, when they were doing it, and a good indication as to why they were doing it. But remember, that while this data might be useful to management, employees could find it terribly invasive.
7 Ways How To Tell If My Boss Is Spying On My Computer
- Be aware of alerts and notifications from time tracking and productivity measuring software on your company computer.
- Surf for common social media applications and see if they are blocked.
- Check the task manager on your computer to look out for any activity monitoring software that you may not be aware of.
- Compare the bandwidth allocation and application restrictions on your computer with a colleague’s. If your company computer has more restrictions, chances are you are being monitored by your boss.
- Indirectly ask the IT department of your office. This is because not all monitoring software leaves a presence in the task Manager. Some employee monitoring software is more advanced, they run in a stealth-mode and cannot simply be opened.
- Open your computer’s webcam to assess if it’s operational without your approval.
- Read your job contract or your company’s employee handbook. If a clause for employee monitoring is present then surely your boss is keeping a check on your internet usage.
Is Employee Monitoring Legal?
Employers are within their legal bounds to practice monitoring on their employees as long as there is a legitimate business interest. However, in the best interest of the employer and the employee, it is crucial to balance an employer’s right to lawfully monitor and manage the work process and an employee’s right to privacy. Other than that, it is within the employee’s right to be notified before any monitoring is carried out. The requirement of direct consent of the employee for monitoring varies from place to place.
As more and more companies green light remote employees, there will be increased use of internet usage monitoring software and intuitive online tools to improve employee productivity and observe user behavior. Of course, companies can say any activity tracking is to boost network security and data loss prevention, and they would be correct in that position. However, that increased security to monitoring employees online comes with some small level of privacy invasion. The best practice for anyone concerned with employer computer monitoring is to be aware of any visited sites and keep social media usage to personal devices and off company time.
Ryan is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.