Invasion of Privacy at Modern Workplaces [SlideShare]

Pros & Cons Of Employee Monitoring

“Right at the heart of all this is trust. What sort of message does it send that they need to monitor [workers’] desktops?”

Ken Oehler, Global Engagement Practice Leader of Aon Hewitt, to The Week. 

Employee monitoring and invasion of privacy is an inescapable reality in the modern workplace.

The American Management Association (AMA) reports that nearly 80% of all companies engage in some form of invasion of privacy via employee monitoring and surveillance at the workplace.

Among them, 66% monitor internet use, 45% log keystrokes, 43% track employee emails, while others even keep an eye on instant message communications, trace employee locations via GPS, etc.

80% of all companies engage in some form of invasion of privacy

To be clear, the need for employee monitoring isn’t under the microscope here. Especially since some studies have found that if an average-paid employee spends even 75 minutes per day performing non-work related activities, which is rather more realistic than hypothetical, a company with 100 workers would lose $812,500 per year in lost productivity.

Moreover, this figure is derived from salary costs alone, and does not account for missed deadlines, longer work cycles, etc.

22% drop in theft, and a 7% rise in revenue

Depending on the industry in which one is employed, theft becomes a concern as well, as shown by a study of five chain restaurants in 2013. In this case, invasion of privacy aside, employee surveillance resulted in a 22% drop in theft, and a 7% rise in revenue.

However, the important question here is – what degree of invasion of privacy is appropriate, in order to balance employers’ need-to-know versus the employee’s right to privacy?

Answering this question requires far more than simple negotiation between an employee’s fundamental rights and the employer’s prerogative to protect their business.

In fact, it needs a re-examination of the issue in its entirety. The informed discussion which needs to happen requires a fresh assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of the invasion of privacy via employee monitoring, alongwith a study of the prospective fallout.

In order to be productive, this debate would also need the proposal of best practices which could potentially mitigate said fallout, and preserve a measure of trust in employer-employee interactions through transparency.

After all, according to the AMA, 33% of business leaders directly link profitability to employee loyalty, and 76% of the same believe distrust to damage that relationship, ultimately harming the organization. 

33% of business leaders directly link profitability to employee loyalty

So, to fulfill these necessities, we at CakeHR have compiled the most up-to-date information regarding this workplace phenomenon, and its fallout, for our visitors & patrons.

Thus, CakeHR presents for your perusal: “Invasion Of Privacy At Modern Workplaces: Pros & Cons Of Employee Monitoring.”  

As always, while our informed opinion may be based on available research and industry trends, there will always be other prevalent perspectives in the business world.

Thus, in a bid to learn more of your personal experiences with this phenomenon, we would request our readers to leave their analyses and feedback in the “Comments” section below.


Written By

Aniket Saksena

I'm a business/academic/creative/HR writer, interested in pursuing and researching as many fields as possible in an effort to become a cross-domain business expert and opinion leader.