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    Insight or Oversight? Pros and Cons of Monitoring Your Employees

    The business world today is watermarked by technological advances and flexible work arrangements. Hence, the management and security of corporate data have become a predominant concern for businesses across the globe. With the continuity of remote or hybrid work models, the challenge of managing devices and endpoints without compromising employee privacy has grown significantly.

    Employee Monitoring
    Efficient and Ethical Employee Monitoring with UEM

    Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) can turn out to be an effective solution in this context, providing tools that adeptly balance necessary supervision with respect for personal boundaries. This blog explores the advantages and disadvantages of employing UEM solutions for employee monitoring, backed by some stats and use cases to aid organizations in making well-informed decisions.

    What is Employee Monitoring?

    Employee monitoring refers to the practice of overseeing employee activities during work hours to collect data on performance, behavior, security practices, and more. With the rise of digital workspaces and the diversification of work environments, monitoring has evolved from simple manual tracking methods to sophisticated systems that leverage advanced technology. 

    Historical Perspective

    Historically, employee monitoring was quite straightforward, primarily focusing on attendance and basic productivity measures, such as hours worked or tasks completed. Methods such as clock-in systems and direct observation by supervisors were common. However, as technology advanced and the nature of work transformed, so did the methods of monitoring. The digital age introduced internet-based monitoring of devices, enabling employers to track not just when employees worked but also how and what they did during working hours.

    Evolution to Advanced Monitoring

    The coming-of-age of digital technologies has significantly expanded the scope and capabilities of employee monitoring. Today, it’s all about digital footprints. Modern monitoring tools can track a wide range of activities and metrics, including:

    Email and Internet Usage: Employers can monitor how employees use corporate email and internet access, which helps prevent inappropriate usage and protects against security threats.

    Application and Software Usage: Insights into how employees interact with company-approved software can highlight productivity trends, software efficiency, and potential misuse.

    Location Tracking: For roles that require mobility, such as in sales or field services, GPS and other location-tracking technologies ensure employees are where they need to be during work hours.

    Keystroke Logging: Some software record keystrokes to analyze productivity and ensure sensitive information is handled correctly. This method, however, raises substantial privacy concerns and is subject to strict legal constraints.

    Pros of Monitoring Employees with UEM

    Enhanced Security and Compliance

    Data Protection: One of the primary advantages of UEM is its ability to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access and cyber threats. According to a 2023 report[1], the average cost of a data breach reached $4.45 million per incident, underscoring the importance of robust security measures. UEM solutions can significantly mitigate this risk by enforcing security policies across all endpoints.

    Regulatory Compliance: Monitoring ensures employees adhere to necessary industry regulations and standards, thus avoiding costly legal penalties. UEM facilitates compliance by enforcing consistent policies automatically across all devices, making it easier for organizations to meet legal and regulatory obligations.

    Improved Productivity and Efficiency

    Activity Monitoring: By tracking how employees use their time and resources, organizations can identify inefficiencies and optimize workflows. A study[2] revealed that organizations that implemented monitoring saw a productivity increase of up to 30%. UEM solutions contribute to this by providing detailed insights into application usage and network activity.

    Resource Allocation: UEM enables IT managers to monitor which applications and tools are being utilized the most, aiding in informed decisions about resource allocation. This can lead to better management of IT budgets and improved allocation of human resources.

    Better Insights and Decision-Making

    Behavioral Analytics: UEM solutions offer analytics that help managers understand employee behavior patterns, which can lead to better managerial decisions and more tailored training programs. These insights can also predict potential issues before they become significant problems.

    Real-Time Monitoring: The ability to access data instantaneously through UEM solutions allows for quick responses to any arising issues, such as security breaches or non-compliance with work policies. This real-time capability ensures managers can act swiftly to mitigate risks.

    Cons of Monitoring Employees with UEM

    Privacy Concerns

    Perceived Surveillance: Continuous monitoring can be perceived as an invasion of privacy, which may lead to decreased employee morale and trust. A survey[3] found that 52% of employees believe their workplace privacy is at risk due to increased employer monitoring.

    Legal Implications: There are stringent laws and regulations concerning what can be monitored and how information must be handled. Organizations must navigate these carefully to avoid legal repercussions, ensuring their monitoring practices comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

    Potential for Mismanagement

    Data Overload: Collecting vast amounts of data without adequate tools and strategies for analysis can result in information overload, where critical insights are lost amidst the noise. The previously stated report also reveals that for large enterprises globally, a future revenue cap of $3.3 trillion is at stake based on workplace data strategies that impact employee trust. Thus, organizations must implement effective data and information management strategies to derive meaningful insights from the collected data. 

    Bias in Analytics: If not carefully managed, the data from monitoring tools can be misinterpreted, leading to decisions that may unfairly affect certain groups or individuals. It is essential for organizations to ensure their analytics processes are fair and unbiased.

    Role of UEM in Employee Monitoring

    UEM solutions offer a centralized platform to manage, monitor, and secure all organizational devices and endpoints, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, POS systems, and digital signage across various operating systems and applications. It allows IT administrators to effectively deploy, manage, and secure corporate applications and data, ensuring all endpoints comply with the organization’s security policies. This centralized management capability is critical in modern workplaces with diverse and dynamic device environments.

    Balancing the Scale: Ethical Monitoring with UEM

    To effectively implement a UEM solution that respects privacy while enhancing operational efficiency, organizations should consider the following strategies:

    Clear Policy Communication

    Transparency: It is crucial for organizations to communicate clearly what is being monitored and why. Ensuring all employees understand the scope and purpose of monitoring can alleviate concerns and support an environment of transparency. This is even more important in BYOD environments where the lines between privacy and security are blurred. 

    Consent: Whenever feasible, obtaining consent from employees for monitoring practices can help reduce discomfort and build a foundation of trust.

    Focused Monitoring

    Relevant Data Collection: Monitoring should be limited to data that is necessary for achieving business objectives and enhancing security. Organizations should avoid collecting information that does not serve a clear business purpose.

    Respect Boundaries: It is important to avoid monitoring non-work related activities and personal devices that are not connected to business operations. Respecting these boundaries is essential for maintaining employee trust and morale.

    Regular Review and Feedback

    Feedback Mechanisms: Encouraging employees to share their views on monitoring practices can provide valuable insights into how these practices are perceived and how they could be improved.

    Policy Audits: Regular reviews of monitoring policies and practices are essential to ensure they remain ethical and effective. Adapting to new technologies and changes in the work environment is crucial for maintaining a balanced approach to employee monitoring.

    Explore the best remote control software.

    Harmonize Employee Privacy & Data Security with Scalefusion

    Employee monitoring through UEM presents a powerful tool for enhancing security, compliance, and productivity within an organization. However, it also poses significant challenges, particularly concerning privacy and data management. 

    By establishing clear, ethical guidelines and maintaining an open dialogue with employees, organizations can harness the full potential of UEM without veering into invasive oversight. The ultimate goal is to create a secure, efficient, and respectful working environment where both the organization and its employees can thrive.

    Looking to establish employee privacy without corporate data lapses? Reach out to our experts and explore how Scalefusion UEM is the answer you are looking for. Sign up for a 14-day free trial

    References:
    1. IBM
    2. AMA Global
    3. Accenture

    Abhinandan Ghosh
    Abhinandan Ghosh
    Abhinandan is a Senior Content Editor at Scalefusion who is an enthusiast of all things tech and loves culinary and musical expeditions. With more than a decade of experience, he believes in delivering consummate, insightful content to readers.

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