Workplace surveillance, in various forms has increased dramatically in the last decade. Using surveillance to document and record the day to day activities in your business, while a good idea, can potentially have a negative effect on employee morale and contentment.
Many companies these days use some form of surveillance. Common workplace surveillance can include phone monitoring, video surveillance and internet surveillance. In an effort to curb theft, improve employee productivity and increase employee safety, many businesses are also inadvertently allowing a host of negative effects in the door.
False Sense of Security
Using video surveillance can induce a false sense of security. Companies should not rely on electronic monitoring systems, rather than human supervision. Workplace surveillance can be very effectively used to enhance the security already in place, but should not replace it.
No one likes the idea of having their every movement monitored. Workplace surveillance can give employees the impression that they are being constantly monitored and evaluated by their superiors. Regardless of the type of surveillance, be it video monitoring, email or phone monitoring workplace surveillance can create a tension and feeling of resentment between employees and their employers.
Invasion of Privacy
Surveillance in the workplace can get complicated when it relates to privacy issues. Be sure if you are installing any type of business place monitoring you are fully aware of the laws and regulations in your particular location. In both Canada and the United States, everyone has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Simply, there are some places the camera or other monitoring devices are not allowed to be placed. For example, every person has the right to expect privacy in a washroom or changing area. There are strict laws, specific to location regarding the recording of conversation. Be sure you know the laws governing your area.
With the more frequent use of employee monitoring comes the possibility of discriminatory termination. There have been more than several popular cases that were brought against employers by employees who were terminated for reasons that they felt were unjustified, but an invasion of their personal privacy. Some of these cases have been known to include termination for sending jokes via email from a work computer and distributing union emails while in times of dispute.
No one likes to feel as if their every move is being monitored. It is important to weigh the positive and negative effects of workplace surveillance.