The 10 Most Common Questions Employees Have About Computer Monitoring

Computer monitoring is necessary to reduce time theft, improve employee productivity and protect against data breaches. However, some employees might not agree with it in practice. 

Companies that properly employ computer monitoring do so within the bounds of employee privacy laws. However, employees might not understand these processes and have questions about workplace surveillance and why you are using an employee monitoring tool. 

While you may recognize that workplace monitoring is necessary, you should be prepared to answer any questions your employees have around its uses. 

Here are 10 common questions employees have about computer monitoring:

1. What is Computer Monitoring Software?

Computer monitoring refers to the methods and tools a company uses to monitor employee activity and computer activity. In this case, computer monitoring is a software program installed on the computers that the employer wants to monitor. It then runs either all the time or when told to. When it’s running, the program will track certain behaviors, like computer usage, electronic communication, time spent on websites and apps, keystrokes, and attendance. 

However, each software works differently. Therefore, if your employees are asking this question, or you aim to answer it, then you should clarify which features your computer monitoring tool has so that your users are aware. 

2. What Does Computer Monitoring Software Track?

Your employees will likely want to understand how the software works and the specific things that it tracks. SoftActivity’s employee monitoring software, for example, will track: 

  • The websites your employee visits and the duration they were on that page
  • How long it takes to complete projects or tasks
  • Daily and weekly attendance
  • Wasted time, including time spent on Facebook and other social media sites
  • The apps that your employees used and for how long
  • Their emails
  • Keystrokes in work apps, emails, websites, and messaging apps
  • Employee behavior, like if employees are trying to access areas that they aren’t authorized to
  • What’s happening on their computer screen in real-time

Be sure to inform your employees of some tracking features that might conflict with privacy. For example, if you opt into keystroke logging, you can ask that it redacts personal information like bank card numbers and passwords automatically. You can let your employees know that this is happening before the data even gets to the managers. 

3. Should I Change the Way I Work Because I Will Be Time Tracking?

Some of your employees may not be familiar with how time tracking works. For the most part, they shouldn’t be drastically changing how they work. The real only changes will ensure that they are tracking and then looking at their productivity. 

Your employees will have to start or stop a timer when working on specific projects. Your employees might want to change how they work. They can try to do this, but they will eventually revert to how they have typically operated. 

Reassure your workers that all they should be focusing on is getting the work done and making it high quality. Just like they’ve been doing so far.

The simple answer for your employees is no—don’t change how they work. The only difference may be to remember to track time!

4. Do I Need to Activate It?

For time tracking, your employees will need to click the start/stop button to record which tasks they are working on. 

For surveillance purposes, your employees don’t need to do anything. The program will work in the background and requires no interaction from the employee at all. That said, they cannot turn off the program either!

5. How is the Data it Collects Used?

If your monitoring is ethical, then you should have no problem answering this question. The data used for computer monitoring purposes should be used for things like:

  • Employee performance reports
  • Timesheet and payroll data
  • Attendance tracking
  • Project or task estimates
  • Project management
  • To assess team skills and performance
  • Wasted time reports 
  • Read instant messaging
  • Areas for improved productivity
  • Detection of Insider threats
  • To protect against data breaches
  • For internal review and company improvement
  • HR purposes

If the data is being used for unethical or malicious reasons, then you shouldn’t be doing employee monitoring. Your employees will have issues with unethical monitoring. 

6. Can I See My Data?

Some employees may be curious about how the data appears to managers or what their data looks like. They may want to use it to improve their performance or productivity, or they may be curious about how often they work during the day. 

Your employees may have access to a personal dashboard so that they can see their hours worked and personal reports. You can also work with them to develop a performance assessment check-up. In this check-up, you can go over what the employees’ data looks like and what it means. You can use this data to improve productivity and come up with productivity reports as well.

7. Will You Read Private Messages or Personal Data?

Technically you will be able to read private messages if you have the keystroke logging feature. Additionally, you may view the employee’s personal social media pages using the screenshots feature. 

Considering that your employees are on work hours (and are usually on a company computer), you have every right to do this. However, some safeguards can be put in place. For example, you can set up your keystroke logging to redact sensitive information so that managers never see passwords or sensitive banking information. 

However, there is some degree of personal data that will be recorded. Therefore, your employees will need to be ensured that this collection of data is safe and secure and follows data privacy and workplace privacy laws. 

8. Am I Allowed to Take Breaks?

Yes! Your employees are allowed to take breaks, and this is often legally required! Just because time tracking or monitoring software is introduced, this doesn’t mean that your employees should forego their breaks. 

Make sure your employees know that they should act just as they were before. If the software notices that your employees are taking too many breaks, then it will alert you to that. You can then make that adjustment during a review session. 

9. What are My Expectations Around Performance Now With Employee Tracking?

Naturally, if the employee monitoring tools are being introduced for productivity purposes, your employees will have questions about performance. 

We recommend setting up a meeting with employees to talk about performance expectations, the data that will be assessed, and how you will approach any performance reviews and steps for improvement with this software in place. 

10. What’s In It for Me?

You might not get this question, but if you do, then you have a chance to tell your employees some good news! Productivity tracking software is not just for employers. If you have hard-working employees (and you likely do), this software will provide hard data that proves that your employees are hard-working! Their hard work will then pay off! They might be given a promotion, a pay raise, or contribute to solving some serious company problems. 
Computer monitoring is not just for employers to monitor surveillance or productivity; it can also be used as a tool for improving the workplace, improving employee engagement, and positive performance reviews!

By SoftActivity Team

August 30th, 2021