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What is employee monitoring?

Monitoring employees involves the continuous monitoring of employees employing digital tools to monitor monitoring, evaluating, and assessing the attendance of employees, their behavior and productivity. Remote working has become a common practice and the shift to cloud computing platforms, businesses are increasingly embracing monitoring their workplaces to make sure that their assets are safe and safe. Monitoring productivity and performance of employees are other reasons employers should be vigilant about their employees. It gives employers the confidence that their work is getting completed and offer valuable insights into employee performance while also putting faith in their employees that they’re acting in a responsible manner.

The monitoring of the performance of employees and their productivity are another reason employers should monitor their employees

The risks to be considered

There’s a wide array of monitoring tools currently available to employers. They can range from time and activity, or keystroke frequency monitoring, or some more specific tools that use webcams, or even captures the text that is written. If the environment is right where employees are aware and engaged, the features of these tools for monitoring can help in monitoring productivity, however it’s easy to overstep the boundaries to become intrusive and increase security vulnerabilities. There are numerous examples of suitable ways to monitor. This includes email analytics software that track the the time spent on emails as well as time-monitoring systems like electronic timesheets and clocking devices. However, forcing employees to use biometrics to clock a machine without a valid reason or requiring clocking in and out to go to the bathroom, could violate the laws on data protection. Employers must also be aware of violations of laws governing employment, such as and the Equality Act, and Human Rights Act with excessive or improper monitoring of employees.

Alongside the risk of breaking laws to protect individuals employees, monitoring tools for employees could also put your company’s security at risk. Keystroke logs could pose a significant risk to cyber security through keeping track of passwords and confidential data. There are other aspects that businesses should be aware of when conducting employee surveillance. For instance continuous webcam monitoring can easily record personal data of others living at home, information which the business is not legally or ethically permitted to obtain. It’s likely to be seen as overly intrusive and unnecessary. If we look at the mobile phones at work it’s natural for companies to keep track of the devices in the event of their loss or stolen. Employers can also track the use of the device (such as personal use that is at the expense of the company or use of harmful apps).

Monitoring employees in excess, as well as the availability and accessibility of this data could pose an extremely vulnerable security risk. It could be exploited through insider threats, such as the theft of data, the act of espionage, or public disclosure of this information. Hackers can also use the information on tracking that businesses have to threaten employees with blackmail and get more sensitive information.

If you’re considering the implementation of employee monitoring, in order to do so in a legal and safe manner you must be sure that:

When you track employee web activity it is proportional to the risks and work.

Only the most reliable monitoring software is utilized.

Access controls are in place to guard against any misuse of the information.

Security experts assist to ensure security measures are in place when monitoring is designed to be extensive or even comprehensive.

You should seek out the assistance of a specialist in data protection who can help in any ethical and legal issues that arise from monitoring of employees.

The excessive tracking of employees and the accessibility and presence of the data could be an extremely risky vulnerability

Legal concerns

Monitoring of employees is not explicitly illegal under the law. However, the laws such as the GDPR as well as the Human Rights Act place limits and obligations in this place. The GDPR demands that the purpose behind your actions is legitimate and legal in the initial instance. Companies must prove they pose a legitimate danger that must be addressed by using surveillance. Surveillance should be transparent until there is a compelling justification to not do this. For instance in the event that abuse of a patient is suspected and the use of hidden cameras to determine the responsible party is justified as long as it is within the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act. In any event employees must be warned that they may be under surveillance. If you’ve proved that your conduct is fair, you must demonstrate that it is legal. That means that you should not be in violation of other laws and rules.

The action must be essential to accomplish the legitimate and legal goal. It is simply that if you’re able to accomplish your goal with less hassle that is, you should achieve it. In the case of HR, for instance. might have to be aware of certain medical information to protect workers’ rights. However, this information should not be incorporated into shared folders that are accessible to managers or used for anything else than for the purposes it was intended to serve without the explicit and active consent by the individual. Be cautious about permissions as it’s rare to have consent as an acceptable justification for processing personal data of employees due to the lack of power between employers and employees.

Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) permit you to understand and record the primary, advantages, challenges and legal consequences of the processing you plan to conduct. A test of balance of interest (which might be a part the DPIA) can assist in resolving conflicts that arise between the rights of employees and the public interest as well as those of the employer. When using many of the cloud-based tracker services you’ll have to make sure you select a GDPR-compliant hosting site such for that of the UK, EU, or any other jurisdiction deemed sufficient as per the ICO. A lot of tools use global data processing by default but they allow you to limit data to a particular area.

Device monitoring dos and dont’s

It’s recommended that you be careful when you’re thinking of installing device monitoring in the workplace. Here are some guidelines regarding the rules and regulations of device monitoring to make sure that you are within the bounds of the law and abide by the privacy rights of employees.

Utilize security settings that are robust (strong security passwords as well as encryption ) rather than pins with six digits).

Inform employees about the monitoring of devices in advance and keep their confidence. Utilize specific user agreements to prove this. Workers are much more likely accept workplace monitoring if they’ve already been informed about the concept prior to when they were.

Don’t allow the history of your location to be seen in the event of an urgent need , for example the moment a device is reported as lost or there is a strong suspicion of illegal behaviour or behavior that is danger to the company.

Complete an DPIA prior to establishing monitoring of employees and then revisit it throughout the duration of the project. It is vital to identify any potential conflicts with the law or risks, as well as the opinions and needs of employees and to demonstrate conformity with the legal requirements for “data security by default and design”.

Utilize tests, pilots and surveys of staff ahead of the launch of devices and employee monitoring systems.


Employers should consider whether employee monitoring is a viable method of managing their workforce above the basic ways of trust. Monitoring of employees isn’t only concerned with the use of technology and should not be used to conceal information. Any monitoring that is excessively intruding will be deemed to be illegal and the consequences resulting from excessive monitoring can be very severe in the context of data protection laws. This could easily violate privacy rights of individuals and therefore, if an organisation is contemplating monitoring their workforce and employees, they should have written policies in place and ensure that they are not in violation of the laws governing data protection, and discuss with employees what and why monitoring of employees is to be carried out.