You just gave your staff an extra 6-week paid vacation to check in with friends on Facebook, expose your company’s valuable trade secrets from smartphones, watch cat videos, and send résumés to your competitors – all on your time, and your dime… That’s right: if a full-time employee wastes just ONE measly hour each day, it equals 250 hours burned – 6 weeks of paid time – on non-work-related activities.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a constant source of distraction to people who feel like they need to keep in touch at all times.
Not only is work time being frittered away, but crucial company secrets slip through the cracks more easily. And sites being visited on your network expose your whole system to malware, hackers and online theft.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Face it – you rely more than ever on mobile technology. And you want to have faith in your team… But how do you know they aren’t secretly taking advantage of your good nature when they’re online?
You don’t. The only way to know what’s really going on at work is to monitor their on-the-job online activities.
Celeste O’Keefe, CEO at DANCEL Multimedia, a Biloxi, Mississippi, marketing firm, started monitoring her employees when she noticed some of them attempting to cover their computer screens as she walked by.
Since then, she’s fired four people for digital infractions. One was a man doing side deals with clients that should have come into the firm. She also fired a woman doing schoolwork on the clock.
Your rights as an employer to track web and e-mail activities of employees using company computers are well-established. But should you? And if so, how do you do so legally, and without damaging company morale?
Several good things happen when you check your team’s online behavior. For one, it can help your company avoid theft, embezzlement or other financial harm. Monitoring can also prevent gathering information about your employees’ religion, political views, sexual orientation or medical history. This could expose your firm to discrimination lawsuits.
Disciplining an employee for making negative comments about you online could result in trouble with the National Labor Relations if you have well-founded suspicions and documented agreement with your attorney and top managers.
Set clear policies. Document your corporate policy on Internet and device usage to make rights and responsibilities clear to everyone – and to protect you in the event of a legal challenge.
Inform and gain consent. It’s not enough to simply let your employees know you’ll be watching them. By being fully transparent and explaining the risks to the business from improper use of digital assets, you’ll steer clear of legal issues without putting a damper on morale.