A few weeks ago, I was speaking at a conference and mentioned that I can listen in on my employee's phone calls anytime. The snide remarks from advisors that followed surprised me.
So I was glad to see this story in PC World saying that small business not only can but should monitor employee's use of the Web.
Advisors who were in the audience made comments about how their employees would resent it if they were monitored and some said they thought it was an infringement on employee privacy--even after I explained that the policy is disclosed in our company handbook and that employees each morning when they log in my click "OK" to a message reminding them that the computer system does not offer them privacy.
I was surprised to see business owners react that way and I think much of the fear business owners about monitoring employees in the workplace is unfounded.
While advisors in the audience said they feared that monitoring employee phone calls and Internet usage would be bad for morale, the morale in my company is just fine. In fact, I think part of the reason it's fine is that I'm totally straight with employees about the need for them to do work when they're at work.
Employees know that the monitoring is not bad for them. It helps ensure that everyone does their job and that the company will be healthier, which will be good for them.
The only people who would resent being monitored are those who are doing something they want to hide, and I don't want those people in my company anyway.
Employees nowadays know that the Web can be a total distraction. They also know that most big businesses monitor employee Internet usage and phone calls.
Moreover, if an employee wants to look up something private or make a personal phone call, he or she can use his smartphone.
Let me know what you think.