Do Employers Monitor Internet Activity?

November 27th 2020

It is not news that employees sometimes tend to surf the Internet once in a while instead of working. Recent studies show that employees spend around 21 hours per week online. Not all hours are dedicated solely to surfing for personal purposes - employees need social networks to socialize with co-workers.

But still, the statistics show a loss in productivity. This inevitably leads to employers seeking ways to monitor the Internet activity of their staff. And no wonder, as much as it is fun and enjoyable for workers to dota 2 bets teams, it’s not nearly as fun for the employers since they need working productivity in order for the company to be competitive and to flourish.

How Employees Abuse Access to the Internet during Work Hours

It depends on the company and each individual case. You may find various stories on the Internet revealing all sorts of tasks employees were completing instead of work. The most popular way of abusing access to the Internet is spending time on social media. Employees read friends’ posts, like photos, and even tweet or share stories!

In some cases, employees were spending time while surfing through job offers. Usually, employees spend several minutes distracting just a little. But there are cases when some workers were actually watching pornographic movies or videos during their working time!

Web Monitoring and Blocking
The obvious way to deal with the problem is to simply block access to certain websites. For example, many companies block access to such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But that’s not the only concern that employers have.

Visiting Twitter and Facebook is not the biggest problem since it’s easy to block these websites. Employees may still keep visiting gambling and betting websites, entertainment websites, shopping online markets, etc. Sometimes employees pay for their bills while being at work, look up recipes to cook something for the supper, etc. And what is even worse, employees tend to watch pornographic content instead of working.

The worst thing about employees watching porn is not even the fact that the worker is underperforming while at work. It’s the lawsuits that the employer may receive. So web monitoring is a must for employers.

Some companies assign an employee to check other employees’ social network pages to make sure they are working instead of spending time on Facebook or Twitter. Other companies also monitor email by using special tools that rely on certain keywords and phrases. It’s also a good idea to use web monitoring software.

Why it’s Important to Monitor Internet Activity

There are several reasons why monitoring the Internet activity of workers during working hours is a key to success. Here are some essential reasons:

To increase the productivity of each employee. When employees spend time surfing the Internet instead of accomplishing their everyday routine, it leads to revenue losses. The situation escalates when employees understand that no one is monitoring their activity and they won’t be facing punishments.
Legal reasons. Most companies would rather not reveal secret information to third parties, that’s why they are willing to deal with insider leaks.
-Safety purposes. Sometimes leaks are done intentionally, sometimes employees don’t even understand that they are sharing something they shouldn’t. Mostly, it’s the second case.
Preventing harassment. To create a safe environment for all the employees (and potentially avoid lawsuits for not guaranteeing a safe environment), it’s best to monitor the Internet activity. By using certain keywords and key phrases, employers may prevent harassment.

It’s clear that there are advantages to monitoring employees’ Internet activity, but there are also disadvantages. Protecting data and preventing leaks that may benefit competitors is clearly a beneficial task. But it may create a not too pleasant environment at the workplace.

If one employee has been caught watching pornographic content, betting, or shopping online, it doesn’t mean that the other 99 workers are doing the same. Clearly, monitoring has its pros and cons and it’s up to the employer to decide how to perform this task.

Alternatives to Monitoring or Blocking

There are other efficient ways to make sure your employees are productive. here are some ideas:

Developing Internet policy. Some companies may not even realize that they don't give a clear explanation of what they expect from their employees. It is a great idea to give clear instructions on what you expect and what Internet activity is frowned upon. That way employees are more responsible and they feel that they are trusted.
Figure out clear examples of what Internet activity is frowned upon and deliver the instructions. Keep working with employees to deliver Internet policy. If someone violates it, communicate with those particular employees so you won’t punish everyone.
Assign managers and train them so they could recognize signs of abusing access to the Internet. That way they may work with each abuser individually. If the employee is underperforming, it might be a sign of Internet access abuse.
Create a trustful environment where employees monitor themselves. Yes, it’s possible to build trust so that employees control themselves. Spending several minutes answering someone’s message on Facebook is not such a big deal. But employees should understand that spending hours is frowned upon. Building trust is the best way to make employees more responsible, and if some keep getting over the line, you may deal with them separately.

These alternatives to monitoring Internet activity are targeted at creating a trustful environment in the workplace. Instead of punishing all employees, including the hard workers, the employer addresses the problem directly to the Internet access abuser. This task might be more difficult than simply monitoring and blocking access to certain sites but worth it in the long run.

Of course, monitoring should be done to avoid insider leaks. Leaks may ruin the competitiveness of the company which will lead to revenue losses. But it’s also important to build trust. That way the employees have a clear understanding of what they are expected to do. Monitoring is beneficial, as well as creating a trustful environment for all employees.

Daniel Wanderson is a ghostwriter, blogger and editor. He likes playing football, dancing and even singing, but his professional areas are IT, history and SEO of his work website dota2-bets.net.

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