2. What does employee monitoring mean?
3. Know the Ethical Repercussions of employee monitoring
3.1 Personal Data and Privacy Breaches
3.2 Weakens Employee’s Trust and Morale
4. Top 7 Ethical Considerations for Using Employee Monitoring Software on Remote Workers
4.1 Discuss with your employees
4.2 Know the legal requirements for remote working
4.3 Use monitoring software that doesn’t track personal phone calls or files
4.4 Educate yourself on what is acceptable remote work behavior in your industry
4.5 Keep monitoring results confidential. Do not share information with others
4.6 Get all employees to agree to be monitored during the onboarding process
Employee monitoring is a successful employee management approach, but privacy issues and the legal concerns of “how much is too much?” have sparked many inquiries about the ethical aspects of monitoring employees.
For many businesses, this is perhaps the first time they’ve ever dealt with mostly remote staff. And this change has generated a new interest in monitoring software tools that allow employers to look at what a remote worker is doing.
But while monitoring your remote employees, you should follow certain ethics to avoid legal trouble.
Are you curious to know about employee monitoring ethics?
This post will discuss the top 7 employee monitoring ethics while using work monitoring software on remote workers.
Let’s dive in-
What does employee monitoring mean?
Employee monitoring entails monitoring your employees’ behaviors with various workplace surveillance systems, such as video surveillance, electronic security, computer monitoring, and so on.
On the one hand, employee monitoring ethics advise you on how to maintain track of your workers and their job without intruding on their privacy. As a result, you may build a transparent employee monitoring system that promotes a secure and effective working environment.
Is it intentional unethical monitoring or not?
Not on purpose, to be precise.
Employers frequently attempt to safeguard their businesses and trade secrets. The majority of them are probably unaware of the ethical issues associated with staff monitoring.
With the rise in availability of sophisticated employee monitoring software, not every company confines their monitoring to work hours. Employees may view such surveillance methods as an invasion of privacy, particularly if they do not trust their employers. This can result in demotivated or unengaged workers, legal action against the firm, or high staff turnover.
This mutual mistrust is exacerbated when remote workers are involved.
Remote work doesn’t necessitate working in a physical location, so remote employee trackers take on the role of being the sole means to keep track of their job-related activities during business hours.
However, using a monitoring tool while working remotely on one’s personal computer or device might be interpreted as gathering personal information during non-work hours.
This breaches employee privacy and makes remote workers more concerned when employers tell them to install employee monitoring software on their systems.
Do you want to know the major ethical repercussions of employee monitoring?
Read the following section to know the answer-
Know the Ethical Repercussions of Employee Monitoring
Here are two ethical issues associated with employee monitoring to be aware of in order to gain employee confidence and maintain openness in your organization.
1. Personal Data and Privacy Breaches
Do you know what makes most workers uncomfortable about being observed?
It is a personal privacy invasion.
Employees may get uncomfortable when their computer usage is constantly monitored while at work.
This might be higher for workers who are being subjected to monitoring for the first time — they may have a greater expectation of privacy as they have not been tracked earlier.
Why not keep track of things without informing the staff?
Tracking workers without their consent may be a significant ethical issue. You will not only find yourself in legal difficulties, but you will also quickly lose your staff’s confidence!
The easiest approach is to inform staff what you’ll be monitoring and how you’ll follow the monitoring standards set by your state/nation.
2. Weakens Employee’s Trust and Morale
Employee monitoring might create distrust and animosity in the workplace.
Investigating their personal accounts/messages just to be sure they’re not doing anything wrong might send the wrong signals.
Especially, if you are performing it secretly.
Yes, there may be workers who jeopardize corporate data or act unethically. But assuming everyone is the same can directly influence their motivation, productivity, and performance.
Furthermore, there is a distinction between monitoring and intrusion.
Intrusion refers to peeping into the personal data of your workers, which has nothing to do with your company during monitoring.
If your employees feel intruded on, they may become dissatisfied and unappreciated, leading to poor work culture, damaged corporate reputation, and even legal issues.
Top 7 Ethical Considerations for Using Employee Monitoring Software on Remote Workers
1. Discuss with your employees
You must discuss your intentions of monitoring online activity with your employees before you begin. It is also an excellent idea to let them know that you are not trying to spy on them and that there should be no feeling of mistrust.
When you discuss your intentions, you may want to consider addressing concerns that may come up. They will likely be apprehensive about being monitored, especially if they think you might see personal or confidential information. If they know upfront what areas of their activity will be monitored, it can help alleviate those fears. It can also make things easier when there is a problem, and you need access to records to find and fix it.
You should also let them know that all records are secured with password protection, ensuring nobody without authorization will have access regardless of how many employees work at your company.
2. Know the legal requirements for remote working
In many areas, employees are allowed to work outside of traditional office space while still completing required tasks. It’s a good idea to confirm whether or not your area has any specific requirements and make sure you fully understand them before embarking on a remote-work initiative. If so, make sure you follow these legal guidelines to help ensure your business stays in compliance with local laws.
For example, companies with workers in California must provide daily rest periods and weekly days off for full-time employees. Companies that do not comply can be fined for violation plus additional liquidated damages.
3. Use monitoring software that doesn’t track personal phone calls or files
When it comes to monitoring software, it’s a good idea to pick one that doesn’t monitor employees when they don’t have work-related duties. For example, most employees would feel uncomfortable knowing their employers had access to information about their personal phone calls or correspondence with family and friends.
In some countries like USA, privacy rights are protected by law, meaning you could end up breaking federal and state laws if you install monitoring software that illegally monitors an employee’s personal communications. If you want to use tracking software, make sure your policy is clear on what behavior is tracked.
4. Educate yourself on what is acceptable remote work behavior in your industry
You may have a difficult time deciding how to use employee monitoring software in a way that doesn’t violate an employee’s rights or other ethical considerations. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on what is acceptable remote work behavior in your industry and culture before implementing new tools. For example, if you are looking for more examples of professional expectations and guidelines, look at Workplace Fairness’s compilation of acceptable remote work practices. This will give you a better idea of whether it is appropriate to track specific tasks or behaviors with technology (or not). Creating written policies about employee monitoring makes things crystal clear for everyone involved—your employees, their managers, HR teams, and executives.
Discuss current state-of-play: Be honest about where you stand right now: What issues do you see at hand? Do any issues need immediate attention? Formalize rules and boundaries regarding remote worker monitoring.
5. Keep monitoring results confidential. Do not share information with others
Regardless of whether you’re monitoring for employee productivity or job security purposes, do not divulge your findings to anyone but those with a need-to-know. You must remain professional, even when presenting bad news. After all, if an employee sees results being discussed openly, they may wonder what you are saying about them behind their back. Even if others have a right to know specific details about someone’s performance (such as upper management), don’t share anything that may be construed as gossip or personal attacks.
Let reports speak for themselves and avoid informal language in e-mails and letters related to your findings. If things must be said face-to-face, wait until after business hours so that you can discuss matters in private.
6. Get all employees to agree to be monitored during the onboarding process
It’s a good idea to get all employees involved and on board with your employee monitoring policy from day one. During onboarding, you can run an online survey asking new hires whether they are willing to be monitored at work in exchange for a generous salary and paid time off. Ensure that these benefits are clearly listed for each question, along with an explanation of what type of monitoring is included in your policy.
A common choice is all incoming emails and phone calls, but if you do include calls, be sure it’s very clear that callers won’t be recorded unless consent is given. It’s also recommended that you define parameters for when (and how) workers should contact management if they notice any problems.
Employers must understand what they can and cannot do when it comes to monitoring employees, but it’s also vital that employees know how best to behave at work, so there aren’t any grey areas.
Whether you give them written instructions or just verbally explain expectations, it’s a good idea to make sure everyone understands where things stand concerning remote workers and monitoring software.
Companies need to be mindful of the significant ethical repercussions and legal requirements when implementing employee monitoring software on remote workers. The seven considerations we’ve provided can help you find a balance between productivity and privacy, so your business is protected from any liability or data breach risks.
If you want an elevated way to stay in compliance with all these guidelines and know what behavior is acceptable for employees at work remotely, request a demo for Workstatus to completely follow the employee monitoring ethics while managing your workforce.
It’s an easy-to-use cloud-based remote employee monitoring software that helps companies track their remote working staff without having access to personal phone calls or files. Plus, it has features like GPS tracking, automated reminders about daily tasks, GPS time clock app, online timesheets, etc. making life easier for both managers and employees alike.
Thanks for reading!!
How to Cure “Lonely Marketer Syndrome”
If you feel lonely as a digital marketer, you are not alone.
According to an ongoing survey conducted by CareerExplorer, marketing managers rate their career happiness at 3.1 out of 5 stars, which puts them at the bottom 40% of careers.
Why would a job that involves the most entertaining and fun aspects of business, that being growth, change, and interaction between business and customer, lead to such an unsatisfactory rating?
Further, how could a job that is perfectly suited for remote working still rate so low?
Why Marketers Are Unhappy
There are lots of reasons why someone could be unhappy with their job, but for now, let’s focus on the five core factors that generated a 3.1 star rating for marketing management. We’ll expand it a bit to accommodate soloprenuers/consultants and marketing agency owners as well:
- Compensation & Revenue
- Personality Fit
- Work Environment
- Skill Utilization
Marketing Compensation & Revenue
Marketing Managers aren’t happy with their salary, even though they rate very high according to CareerExplorer’s survey. With an average of $135,000, marketing managers are the highest among similar careers like management consultants, investment fund managers, online merchants, operation managers, advertising managers, human resource managers, and project managers.
On the marketing business side, marketing agency revenue has continued to increase as well. According to Statista, digital advertising agency revenue grew from $5.69 billion in 2012 to $30.6 billion in 2022, an increase of 437% over 20 years (22% average annual increase).
Even so, they’re not happy!
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Do marketing managers find their work meaningful? Most of them don’t according to the survey. They ranked meaningfulness at 2.7 out of 5 stars.
How about the personality fit of people who are marketing managers? According to the survey, marketing managers rank fit as 3.8 out of 5 stars. Not bad considering! Still not great.
What about the work environment of marketing managers? That’s not bad as well, with a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Even so, it could be better.
Finally, let’s talk about skill utilization. Do marketing managers feel that they’re using their skills to an adequate degree? They have skill utilization a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Again, not bad but not great either.
Overall, marketing professionals are missing on a lot of the key factors that lead to job and life satisfaction. Could there be a root cause for the disconnection?
Why the Marketing Profession is Awesome
We now have some insights into why the marketing profession may not be ideal, now let’s examine why it’s a really, really good job for some people. Let’s use those same survey factors to discuss.
Marketing Compensation & Revenue
Marketers make GOOD money. The survey by CareerExplorer said $135,000 average, which sounded high to me, however, Salary.com confirmed the range with the median being $113,582. No matter how you look at it, that is a great paycheck.
This is an abstract measure, but I think marketers have a huge opportunity to find meaning in marketing. Your job directly impacts the success of businesses. Businesses provide goods and services for their customers, while also providing paychecks for 47.5% of the population of the USA. What’s more meaningful than helping 58.9 million people to get paychecks?
The marketing profession is perfect for people who like networking, extroverts that like building relationships, number-heads who love analytics, creatives who like constantly creating new media, attention-seekers who love interacting with audiences, and business people who like money. If your personality fits into any of those groups, you can find a good fit with marketing.
Marketers to work pretty much anywhere, PLUS there are tons of networking groups, expos, masterminds, courses, and other events to attend all year long all over the planet. You can work from home, work at an office, travel to clients’ locations, or take your laptop to the beach. A marketer can create their own work environment if they want to!
Few professions utilize a more dynamic list of skills than marketing. From technical to analytical to creative to relational, marketing requires the utilization of vast, complex, and evolving skillsets. You will never get bored with a marketing career because you never know what you’re going to need to know next. Better yet, you have the opportunity to create entirely new skillsets that no one has even considered before!
Loneliness is Bad for Productivity
With all that said, why are marketers still unhappy? I believe that the majority of marketers are more socially-minded than your average person. They crave connection between people. That could be connection with other marketers, connection between companies and their customers, and connection between owners and marketing professionals.
Problem is that since marketers can work anywhere, they often default to working remotely. As of mid-2022, Linkedin reported that jobs offering “remote work” increased 457% year over year. Remote working for marketing roles working remotely increased 177% in just the first half of 2022.
What do you get when you have primarily “social” people working remotely? You get lonely, and loneliness hurts productivity, creativity, and health.
Research by Dr. Vivek Murthy showed that loneliness and depression cost employers $44 billion a year. A study of remote workers found that one in five said “loneliness” was their biggest struggle.
So, while marketers are generally well paid and provided with challenging work that engages their personalities, they are faced with loneliness which greatly impairs work satisfaction. How do we fix the issue?
How to Fix Lonely Marketer Syndrome
The fix may seem obvious, but it is usually missed or approached too casually in most cases. Marketers need to become part of marketing communities. Not just any communities however, the ones that will truly impact their business and mindset will have the following characteristics:
#1: Formal Education Systems
Ideally, your community should have a proven set of frameworks that other marketers (preferably hundreds or even thousands) have used to succeed.
#2: In-Person & Online Events
Online events are great, but if there is no planned in-person event, you’re going to be missing an important part of connecting with others: seeing them “for real.” Your new community should have plans for in-person meeting opportunities, even if it’s just once a year.
#3: Broad & Narrow Specialty Groups
If you can find a network with a significant amount of people in your specific marketing niche, great! Just note that they should also be connected to broader topics so that you can learn more about interacting with entire marketing teams, not just people do the exact same work as you do.
#4: An Established History
Brand new groups are great, but there’s nothing worse than committing to a brand and having it disappear on you. Ideally, look for marketer communities that have been around for at least 5 years, but preferably longer.
#5: A Hierarchy for Ascension
The best communities provide opportunities for their members to grow and contribute, with the possibility of becoming a thought-leader, teacher, or contributor to the knowledge contained within an organization. Look for groups that have positions, awards, and prizes for top community members.
Where to Find the Right Marketer Community
Lucky for you, you’re already on the right website! DigitalMarketer has been growing their marketer community since 2008. With over 120,000 marketers completing courses, thousands of contributors, and over 1 million email subscribers, DigitalMarketer is the community of choice for marketers in over 60 different countries.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for your first certification with a Lab Membership, an agency owner looking to scale with our Certified Partner network, or a successful business owner looking to scale with the M3 Mastermind, DigitalMarketer is the place to be.
Beat Lonely Marketer Syndrome and join us today!