Should You Really Be Spying On Your Employees’ Workplace Communications?

Should You Really Be Spying On Your Employees’ Workplace Communications?

Spy apps are all the buzz these days, and understandably so, as they seem to be the ideal tools to discourage the abuse of digital privileges in workplaces. How often have you caught your employees wasting their time socializing or surfing the web on the very iPhones they were given for work purposes? Probably a lot. And how much of a role did spying solutions like the one available at play in helping you catch them? Again, a lot, right? This is hardly surprising once you take a look at what these tools have in their arsenal. While there seems to be no argument over the utility and value of spy apps, there is one question that keeps popping up from time to time, “Should you be spying on your employees’ workplace communications?”. There are all sorts of moral, ethical, and even legal considerations that need to be taken into account before answering this question. However, let’s jump straight to the answer before moving on to the considerations part.

The Answar Cannot Be More Obvious

Spying on your employees’ workplace communication is absolutely necessary in today’s day and age. With employees just a fingertip away from engaging in lengthy chat sessions at the expense of duties that are the life and blood of your business, you’ll really need to be drunk on optimism to expect them to remain focused on work and not succumb to the temptation of chit chat. You have to understand that there’s too much at stake here, and it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Not quite clear on what’s at stake?  Here’s a quick reminder.

Employee Productivity

Excessive workplace texting, and now exchanging of messages and pictures on WhatsApp, Kik, Viber, LINE, and other platforms is a nuisance that you’re probably already encountering. Ignoring this issue is not an option because every minute that your employees spend on sharing jokes, interesting events from last night, opinions on the latest episode of a popular show, analysis on an exciting sporting contest, etc., they do so at the expense of their productivity. Not performing to the best of their potential is definitely not in your favor, and perhaps was never a part of the employment agreement.

Business Profits

Less -than-optimum employee productivity naturally affects your business to achieve the ultimate goal, i.e. profit maximization. Since your employees don’t bother to resist the temptation of engaging in lengthy chat sessions with their friends or colleagues during work hours, courtesy of access to smartphones and free internet, you end up paying for their leisure time in the form of reduced profits.

Intellectual Property

This is a rather depressing potential threat that you face upon granting your employees digital privileges at workplace. It’s depressing because the very people that you’re helping earn their bread and butter have the tendency to stab you in the back by leaking sensitive information to a third party, mostly a competitor, that makes them a generous offer. It’s just so easy to steal and sell trade secrets in the age of emails, Skype, and other communication platforms.

Points to Ponder

While everything that’s been said until now is to make you realize the absolute necessity of keeping tabs on your employees’ communications, it’s important for you to understand a few things before you deploy a spying solution in your workplace.

First of all, there’s the legal consideration. The law clearly states that you cannot spy on employees’ without informing them and getting their consent first. Going ahead with the spying without prior disclosure and approval would make the act a violation of privacy and hence illegal.

Secondly, you need to be considerate of the moral and ethical boundaries. While it’s understandable to keep an eye on their communications to ensure that they aren’t neglecting their work or involved in corporate espionage, snooping on their personal communications for the sake of learning what’s going on in their private lives is both immoral and unethical. You need to recognize the limits and respect them. Failing to do so can not only cost you your employees’ trust and loyalty, but also ruin the reputation of your business in the market.

Categories: Business

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