Internet access in the workplace these days is no longer an option, it is a necessity. By having online access you can research industry related materials that can help your respective business flourish. The potential for employee abuse and neglect of the internet can occur as surfing activity can often mirror that carried out at home.
Some employers are opting to install measures to monitor employee internet use, however there are many pros and cons associated with this decision. Technical considerations, ethical considerations and the organisations procedures and needs are also something to take in to consideration.
Different businesses will use the internet and rely upon the internet in different ways and what may work well for one business may not work for another.
Here are a few of the pros and cons that I think businesses should consider before implementing internet monitoring:
Higher Employee Productivity
When employees are aware that the internet is being monitored they are highly unlikely to start surfing the internet for personal use. At quiet times it is very easy for employees to start becoming distracted by non-work related internet surfing.
Increase in Security
Any kind of viruses or malware could severely disrupt a business’s day to day activities; this could become detrimental to productivity and have a knock on effect on profits. By monitoring employee internet use and ensuring only business surfing is carried out this significantly reduces the risk of an employee browsing to an infected website. The cost of having an internet monitoring solution setup would be far less than dealing with a major disruption due to a virus infection.
Proper internet use
The majority of employees will never abuse internet privileges, but as with anything there will always be someone who will abuse the freedom. With an internet monitoring system you can insure that the internet connection is only used for business activities.
The benefits of internet monitoring are pretty obvious but what’s not so obvious is the dent in staff morale. Staff who were always loyal, productive and actively working hard may suffer from a blow to self-esteem. They may feel that their bosses don’t have any trust in them to do their job. Low staff morale always causes a decrease in productivity and this can outweigh all the benefits of internet monitoring.
As a result of internet monitoring many employees feel like their privacy is being violated and let’s face-it no one likes to be watched. It would obviously be quicker for an employee to carry out online banking at lunchtime rather than go down to the bank and have to wait in a queue. Employees may feel uneasy about carrying out their online banking if they knew their connection was being monitored.
There are clearly many pros and cons for using internet monitoring. Many companies opt for a filtering solution rather than monitoring. By filtering the internet connection certain types of websites are blocked. This option is much less obtrusive and will often be easier to implement as staff won’t feel that their privacy is being invaded.