Computer Monitoring Software: A Double-Edged Sword

Monitoring employees by using computer monitoring software is fast becoming the need of the hour for many offices. However, it can backfire if you don’t think things through before implementing it. No amount of planning can make the process one that is fool proof. Unfortunately, this is one of those things where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Tracking Your Troubles

On one hand, by using monitoring software from websites like, a business can easily track whether their resources are being spent in an effective and efficient manner. You can check what your employees are using the internet for, you can figure out where they are using their company owned devices and why. Making a map of whether the resources are actually being used where they should be becomes easier. While on the other hand, employee morale has been known to fall in cases where they feel as though they are not being trusted. For instance, some delivery services or cab companies do not have a choice but to install such software on their employees’ phones so that they can ensure that the work is being done on time, without any unnecessary changes on the driver’s part. However, the driver may feel as though they are being accused of something they haven’t done.

It’s All about Data

In this day and age everything is about data. A good app or software can help you collect enough about the work habits of your team for you to be able to analyze it further for efficiency. Some might require training and you can meet it out, others may require reprimand and that too can be easily judged, while some should receive rewards — all of this is clearly visible from their performance data. It also helps separate the myth from the fact. In some cases, employees that seem ideal on paper can turn out to be less effective than those with weaker resumes — while their documentation can mislead their performance statistics never will. Sadly, knowing that their every move or keystroke is being documented can lead some to experience higher levels of work stress which in essence would affect their productivity greatly. It could even lead to significant turnover problems.

Despite all that monitoring apps and software can do, employers will still have to worry about the non-quantifiable i.e., how do you measure what isn’t being measured through digitized means? These apps and software are limited in that they only capture what is being done on digital devices but not all jobs fall under this umbrella. The problem is that these tools make employers complacent and dependent. They may only rely on stats and figures and forget non-quantifiable tasks entirely.

The Legal Route

Monitoring one or more of your employees isn’t a piece of cake and can lead to severe legal implications. It is advisable to first consult a lawyer and figure out what you can and can’t monitor and then devise an open and honest policy to be declared to the employees so that they know. The tricky part, however, isn’t the lawyers or the policy itself, it is figuring out how to contain a demon you’ve unleashed on your own work environment — the demon we generally refer to as BYOD. While you will most certainly be within your right to monitor company owned devices in numerous ways, your options are fairly limited when it comes to BYOD that an employee brings in. And of course, banning BYOD is also not practical since it can hinder productivity and raise costs for the company itself. While large businesses can still get away with abolishing BYOD in the work place, most medium to small sized firms cannot.

The Complications of BYOD

BYOD is a convenient solution to numerous problems faced by a firm. However, how can you contain something you can’t control? If your employee walks into the office with a device that’s bursting with malware and spyware, hooks up said device to the official network, and then compromises official data, what can you do? Businesses cannot afford not to keep a check on their employees digitally and some level of monitoring will always be necessary. However, monitoring an employee’s personal device is a red zone that employers can’t generally enter. The problem is this: a company is responsible for protecting its own property, even if it is from their own employees.