3 Ways to Monitor Employees Internet Usage Fairly
In an effort to curb the time employees spend idly browsing the web, checking social media or wasting time in other ways – some employers are starting to monitor internet usage. While it is certainly well within your rights to track how employees are using work computers and time, it is important to be fair to avoid any disgruntlement.
While there are several ways in which you can monitor internet usage fairly using WorkExaminer, three in particular stand out:
Have a clear, transparent and reasonable policy
Every employee should be aware that you’re monitoring internet usage, and more importantly they should be clear on your expectations regarding online activity. Keep in mind that your expectations should be reasonable – and should not make your employees feel as if they’re being unnecessarily restricted.
For example although WorkExaminer technically allows you to block social media and other websites outright, a more reasonable tact would be to let employees know that the amount of time they spend on those sites will be monitored. After all odds are even if you block social media access completely employees will just use their mobile phones to check it anyway.
All of this should be communicated to employees, and encompassed by your company policy on computer and internet usage in the workplace. That policy should be a guideline that governs exactly what is expected, what will be monitored, and provides examples of what constitutes an infringement of the policy.
Correlate internet usage data with employee performance
At the end of the day ask yourself: Does it really matter how an employee is spending their time so long as they’re completing all their tasks in a timely fashion and with the quality that you expect? That is precisely why it is important to correlate internet usage data with employee performance, to put it in the proper context.
Because WorkExaminer is able to track the internet usage of specific computers, you will be able to see whether an employee is spending too much time on activities that aren’t work related. Rather than directly using that data however, you can refer to it if and when an employee’s performance is dissatisfactory.
By taking this approach, you will be able to use the data from monitoring to fairly determine whether action should be taken or not. It would also make your monitoring policy seem a lot less burdensome to employees.
Be fair when taking action
If an employees’ performance is suffering and the data shows they are spending a lot of time on personal internet usage – it is best to initially approach the issue tactfully. Rather than penalizing the employee, you should first discuss the problem with them and emphasize the fact that their performance it not up to standard and the problem appears to be their internet usage.
Assuming you want to use WorkExaminer to track their internet usage more closely you could do so, and could even see their online and computer activity in real time. On the other hand you may want to simply issue a warning for the first infringement, and set firm performance parameters that they need to hit, failing which more stringent measures could be implemented.
Ultimately these measures will result in a fair approach to internet monitoring and one that isn’t as likely to make employees feel as though their every action is being scrutinized or their privacy is being invaded. Considering morale is an important factor in productivity, it is preferable to be as fair as possible – while still benefiting from the data that internet monitoring can provide.