As an IT security company, we frequently get this question from business owners. Now, with many companies allowing employees to work remotely, the concerns underlying the question have taken on even more urgency.
We understand the intent. Employees may be more susceptible to cyberattacks while working outside the company firewall. But putting that matter aside for a moment, we understand that many employers are also concerned that staffers may not be working as efficiently as they would in an actual office environment. The bottom line among management personnel is they want to ensure that their business can deliver the same results as always, no matter where everyone is working.
Still, even with that concern, we do not recommend monitoring or restricting your employees’ computer activities. To better relay the reasons for this viewpoint, let’s explore a couple of questions.
What Is Your Company Culture Like?
Do you trust your employees, and do they trust you? If your organization is clear about expectations and provides opportunities for growth and open communication, you’ve built an essential foundation for a positive, productive company culture. If your employees feel like you don’t trust them or are micro-managing them — you won’t have very satisfied or motivated employees. This lack of privacy can also increase stress for your team and, in the process, diminish the chances of their and your company’s long-term success.
How Is Your Business Doing?
Is your business meeting deadlines and other benchmarks, as well as overall goals? What about individual employees – are they hitting their targets?
Knowing if your employees take a five-minute break to watch a video or check a personal email is less significant when you consider that deadlines are still being reached, customers are still being satisfactorily served, and goals are still being met. If this isn’t the case and your company’s productivity is falling short, this should perhaps be something you would address with those teams or individuals whose achievements are in question.
In a time of remote work, communication is key. So, ask yourself a few other questions: Do your employees have the tools and resources they need to be successful? Are tasks clear? Do they have other personal concerns that are affecting their work? Instead of surveilling your employees, look for ways to encourage and support them instead.
Do You Have the RIGHT Type of Monitoring?
While we do not recommend micro-managing your employees, it is important to have resources in place to protect them from negligent acts that could harm your business. While you may not need to read their emails, you should provide the right training and tools to help them identify and handle those emails that contain malware or phishing attacks. Also, be sure to instruct them on the dangers of other threats, such as use of unsecured networks and unlocked computers.
So, Should You Monitor Your Employees Computers?
In a word, “no.” The negative impacts simply outweigh the benefits, and it will likely come across like you are spying on your employees. In most instances, trust simply equals empowerment, while looking over an employee’s proverbial shoulder can harm morale and thereby lower productivity.
However, a different type of attention is certainly advisable—which will protect your employees and business from bad actors. Do provide your personnel with the guidance and tools necessary to deter cyberattacks and additional threats like unsecured networks.
If you want to learn more about security-related monitoring options, contact us today! We can provide you with a FREE risk assessment and then build a custom solution based on your business needs!