Yogesh Chauhan's Blog

Is monitoring an employee’s work on a computer a desirable or undesirable activity?

in Miscellaneous on June 4, 2020

I am going to divide the question in small parts.

From the manager’s perspective …

I guess it’s a good thing for managers to have some kind of monitoring of what employees do. Not in the terms of spying on them or caught them doing something wrong but just to understand how productive they are. If I am a manager of some department, I would definitely keep some kind of monitoring.

Even if it’s on the papers, just the list of the things they do during their work time. Now we are talking about computer monitoring and that is even easier and ever more helpful.

For e.g. let’s assume you are the manager of a call center where you want to know what your employees are doing and how long they are talking to customers and what kinds of phrases they are using etc. In this era, technology has made things possible at so much deep level that you can monitor almost everything and generate tons of reports as well. And I think it will help managers as well. Sometimes only looking at the numbers is not enough.

For e.g. one of your employees didn’t talk to customer for too long but you might want to know the details behind that, for e.g. that customer was not in a situation to talk at all. 

From the employee’s perspective…

From employees’ point of view, it might be really stressful if they make mistakes. Or even if they haven’t made a mistake but the constant feeling of being monitored is awful as well. Nowadays we see security cameras everywhere but when they installed it for the first time in few places, people were so worried about being watched all the time. Nowadays, we hardly see any place without cameras.

If we monitor employees, without them being aware of monitoring then it might become an ethical issue. If we monitor our employees’ quality of work, that would mean a great reward for them as well as for the quality of work as well.

But if we simply monitor the employees for how fast they are working or if they are wasting their time then it will make the working life miserable. They might work fast but it might impact the quality of the product as well.

How does the organization’s culture impact your position?

There is a good saying that reality depends on your perception. It is accurate for organizational culture. Company culture is nothing but the personality of the organization. It is what the organization believes and stands for, it’s the values of the organization. It has everything to do with how its employees, customers, managers and others perceive it.

The power of company cultures is amazing. It’s not visible in front of your eyes or it can’t be touched but it can be experienced in employees and customers. A great company culture like Google attracts more and more people to work for you. There are other brands like Costco and Target where customers love to go shopping and employees don’t want to leave.

Regarding the monitoring question, nowadays we have security cameras all over the offices, no matter where we work. Apart from that, there are many software that being installed on the employees’ work computers so that managers can track the progress and the activity as well. As long as employees respect the necessity for the monitoring, it is completely fine, and it can be aligned with the organizational culture of a company.

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