Why Monitor Employee Computer Activity? (Video)

CurrentWare - Why you need to monitor employee computer activity

Why is employee monitoring software so popular? This video shows the key reasons why employers monitor employee computer activity. Later in this article you will also learn how to monitor your employee’s computer activity using a free trial of BrowseReporter, CurrentWare’s employee activity monitoring software.


Video Transcription

Thanks for checking out the latest CurrentWare Video. In this video, we’re going to cover the reasons why you should monitor employee computer activity.

If you like this or other videos we’ve produced, hit the subscribe button below. Stay tuned to the end to learn how to get a free trial of all of the software I demo today.

5 Benefits of Monitoring Employee Computer Usage

Employee monitoring involves understanding how your employees are using company provided technology during work hours. There are five main benefits and considerations to employee monitoring that we will cover today:

  1. Employee Productivity management
  2. Addressing inappropriate technology usage, legal liability, and compliance
  3. Managing cybersecurity and data loss prevention
  4. Understanding how remote workers / out of office users are engaging with technology
  5. Understanding bandwidth usage and limiting exposure and costs 

So let’s start off with how monitoring can help employee productivity. 

44% of employees admit to being distracted by the internet at work, and employees in the US have admitted to wasting 1-2 hours a day browsing the internet. 

How Can Monitoring Employee Computer Usage Improve Productivity? 

BrowseReporter Employee Productivity Report Graph

Employees that know they’re being monitored will avoid excessive personal usage of the internet and computer applications. In addition, in the event an employee is underperforming, employee monitoring reports on their computer activity can be used to help the employee understand their actions and enhance their productivity.

The second important reason to monitor activity is to address inappropriate internet usage & avoid legal liability. 

As compliance requirements increase for various businesses, industries & jurisdictions, employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees are complying with regulations such as HIPAA, CCPA, CIPAA and GDPR. 

By enabling computer monitoring, you can ensure that your staff are complying with these requirements. In addition, by monitoring & setting alerts, you can instantly be notified if employees are visiting inappropriate websites such as pornography, adult or other websites.

The third reason to monitor computer activity is for cybersecurity purposes & to prevent data loss.

By knowing which websites an employee is visiting, which files are being downloaded or shared, and which external devices and endpoints are being used, company administrators can manage cyber security risks and data loss prevention efforts. 

Data breaches and associated risks can cost businesses millions of dollars in damages along with reputational risk, so being aware of these risks and monitoring them can provide significant benefits for every organization. In addition, by using alerts, and setting up risk profiles for users, you can audit activities and groups for questionable employee behavior.

Monitoring Employee Computer Usage During COVID-19

Due to Covid-19, the year 2020 has seen a significant shift to remote work for various companies and organizations. This brings us to our 4th reason to monitor an employee’s computer usage: remote workforce management. 

52% of CIOs surveyed suspect that one or more of their mobile workers have been hacked or caused a mobile security issue in the last 12 months. Employee monitoring software can be used to monitor for high-risk activity and verify that employee activity on company networks is legitimate. 

The final reason to monitor employees is for bandwidth management purposes. With CurrentWare’s BrowseReporter tool, you can determine who is hogging bandwidth by streaming videos and uploading/downloading excessively large files. 

Employees who are hogging bandwidth can slow down the entire network, negatively affecting the productivity of other employees and reducing the performance of business critical operations.

That’s it for this video. If you have any thoughts on this video or other reasons why computers should be monitored, feel free to comment below. 

If you’d like to give any of CurrentWare’s computer and device monitoring solutions a try, please check out our free trial at currentware.com/download or get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help!

Free White Paper

Employee Monitoring: Best Practices for Balancing Productivity, Security, and Privacy

In today's privacy-conscious world employers need to monitor employees in a way that is transparent, minimally invasive, and respectful of employee privacy. Read this white paper to learn the best practices for monitoring employees in the workplace.

How to Monitor Employee Computer Activity

Thanks for checking out the latest CurrentWare how-to video. Today we will cover How to Monitor Internet Use. 

If you like this or other videos we’ve produced, hit the subscribe button below. Stay tuned to the end to learn how to get a free trial of the software I demo today.

In a previous video, we covered some of the benefits of monitoring employees including for productivity reasons, to avoid legal liability and to prevent cyber threats. In this video, we’re going to cover how to monitor internet use and some of the industry best practices.

We’re going to be using BrowseReporter, CurrentWare’s computer monitoring solution. 

This solution requires an agent to be installed on your employee’s computers. Once installed, their computer activity is streamed to your server where you can run reports and view their activity. 

To start off, we recommend you determine which browsers are being used by your company. This is a good time to look at your company’s policy and determine which default browser you recommend. You can also find out which browsers your employees are using with BrowseReporter’s application monitoring report. In addition, you can actually block the installation or use of other browsers by using CurrentWare’s BrowseControl solution.

The next step is to figure out what time period you want to look at. You can pull reports on demand at any desired time period including last 7 days, last month or a custom date range. 

For this example, we’ll look at yesterday’s results. Now you can actually schedule these reports to email automatically to the appropriate person on your team, but in this case we are going to use on-demand reports, pulling the reports up as needed.

So let’s jump in and start with a snapshot report on employee internet use based on productivity.

With the CurrentWare Employee Productivity Report, you get a simple snapshot into how much time was spent on websites that are deemed to be productive. The definition of productive is based on our proprietary system of ranking each website based on whether it’s productive, unproductive or neutral. You can even change the categorization of websites based on your business needs to make this report more helpful.

Looking at the CurrentWare console, we’ll pull up the employee productivity report for employee Conan. We will look at yesterday’s performance and see that Conan was only 24% productive. The majority of his time was spent on Social Media and Sports websites vs. work related tasks.

The next way to assess productivity is to see which sites someone has spent the most time on. For example, if you know the employee is on the sales team and should be spending the majority of time on salesforce.com, you can investigate and see which are the main sites they are really browsing. 

By pulling up the Top Domains visited report, we can see exactly which domains Conan browsed yesterday by Active Time and Total Time. Similar to the previous report, we see the majority of his time was spent on Facebook and ESPN.

One of the most interesting features of CurrentWare’s internet monitoring reports are related to tracking the actual activity of a user and not letting the data get convoluted with different tabs or windows that a user has open.

BrowseReporter has 3 different ways to determine how the internet and applications are being used:

  • Active Time
  • Total Time
  • Idle Time

Active Time measures how long the current window is in focus, giving you the most accurate report on where users spent their time on websites and applications. BrowseReporter has the capability to determine which website tab was active at the top of the screen so you get extremely accurate reporting on where they spent their time. 

Total Time measures the total duration the window is opened for, from the start time until the end time regardless of whether the window was in focus or not. Not every user acts the same. Some users switch between two monitors. Some like to stream content in the background. No matter what their behaviors are, BrowseReporter can track the total time they spent on the websites whether or not they were focused on the window.

Finally, Idle time measures how long the user is away from his computer after the mouse and keyboard stopped moving. By default, idle time is tracked after 20 minutes of inactivity. Time tracking should be fair. If your users are not in front of their computers, BrowseReporter will separate the time tracked into idle time so you can filter it out if you need to during report generation.

Now if you want to investigate the exact website pages that the employee visited, you can use the Sites visited report. This report breaks down each url in detail along with how much time was spent on each page.

This lets you distill down if they were looking at pages related to work on those domains or if it was something more personal. This is specifically helpful for domains like youtube.com which for certain industries or roles can provide value, but knowing which exact video was watched can help you understand the use case by the employee.

Finally, we recommend investigating productivity by looking at employee keyword searches.

This report allows you to Review the exact search keywords used by employees and Identify employees that are distracted or struggling with specific topics. In addition, you can also discover employee sentiment and monitor for high-risk search terms such as attempts to find adult-oriented websites.

In this keywords searched example we can see employee Greg has searched lots of personal items into google over the past working days. This helps you understand where they may be spending their time and what they are  browsing in google.

That’s it for this video on how to monitor internet use with BrowseReporter. If you have any thoughts on the reports or suggestions we’ve covered in this video, feel free to comment below.. 

If you’d like to give BrowseReporter or any of the other CurrentWare Solutions a try, please check our free trial at currentware.com/download or get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help!

Ready to start monitoring employee computer usage? BrowseReporter is a versatile employee computer activity monitoring software for monitoring internet and application usage. In this video, you will learn how to monitor employee computer activity with BrowseReporter.

  • Track employee computer activity to see the websites they visit, how long they spend browsing each website, and the category of each site.
  • Get employee activity alerts automatically sent straight to your inbox on a set schedule or when specific computer activities occur
  • Use one of the dozens of employee computer activity reports to make data-informed management decisions, enforce acceptable use policies, and protect your company against unlawful or inappropriate computer usage.

How to Monitor Employee Computers

  1. Sign up for the free trial to get the employee monitoring software installation files
  2. Following these installation instructions, install the CurrentWare Console on a manager’s computer and deploy the CurrentWare Clients on your employee’s computers
  3. You are now monitoring employee computer activity. From the CurrentWare Console, you can use BrowseReporter to run employee computer activity reports. These reports allow you to see how your employees are spending their time during the work day.

Learn More:
How to Monitor Employee Internet Usage
How to Monitor Application Usage on Employee Computers

Sample Computer Activity Reports

What Is Employee Monitoring Software?

Remote Employee Monitoring Software - Productivity, Security, Analytics

Employee monitoring software is a software solution that business owners use to track employee computer activity. Employers use monitoring software for insider threat detection, to improve employee productivity, and to gain insights into how their employees work.

Employee monitoring software gives business owners, managers, and IT staff members insights into how employees use technology in the workplace. These insights can be used to evaluate employee performance, as a time tracking tool for remote employees, or to analyze employee activity for high-risk or anomalous behavior.

Learn more: What is Employee Monitoring Software?

What to Look for in the Best Employee Monitoring Software

With so many vendors to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the best employee monitoring software for your needs. During your evaluation, keep an eye out for these employee and computer monitoring features.

Internet Activity Monitoring

employee internet mangement - handle workplace internet abuse

One of the most common uses of employee monitoring software is website tracking. By monitoring employee internet use in a company can ensure that websites such as social media, pornography, and phishing sites are not being accessed on company devices.

Monitoring employee activity in this way improves employee productivity by providing business owners with evidence of excessive web browsing. Website tracking is also an important security feature as high-risk user behavior could help compromise the network.

Application Usage Tracking

Application Tracking - Save Money on Unused Software

Using employee monitoring software to track the computer applications used by employees helps measure software license utilization rates, identify the excessive use of unproductive software, and detect unauthorized programs.

Without this visibility, a business could fall victim to shadow IT related security vulnerabilities. While not all unauthorized programs are malicious it’s critical that monitoring tools are in place to detect any software that needs to be managed by the IT department.

Active Time vs Total Time Tracking

Idle Time Tracking - How active are your employees? CurrentWare

Time tracking with employee monitoring software can provide incredibly valuable insights, but only if the reports are truly accurate.

Employee monitoring software that tracks active time will track how long applications and websites are actively used by the users, whereas  employee monitoring software that only tracks total time report a list of applications and websites that were open on the computer without properly contextualizing whether the employee was actually using them or if they were simply opened and left running in the background.

The best employee monitoring software will have the ability to report what employees are truly doing. The reporting of active time allows IT administrators and managers to trust and understand the reports generated, giving them the opportunity to generate actionable outcomes from the employee activity data.

Custom Data Retention Settings

Organizations that have a legal requirement to use employee monitoring software need to ensure that the data is accessible for review. 

Employee monitoring software with configurable data retention settings makes auditing, compliance, and storage less of a hassle for large-scale deployments. The ideal employee monitoring software will allow the organization to store the data indefinitely to ensure that records are maintained as long as needed.

Automated purging saves organizations considerable costs on storage and administration as they will not need to manually purge the data, purchase new storage hardware, or upgrade to a greater storage volume with their cloud storage provider.

This automated culling is especially important for any business that is subject to data privacy legislation. These regulations typically require that employee information is only kept for as long as it is relevant and necessary for the company. 

Remote Workforce Management

remote workforce management - Essential Tools for managing a remote team

The modern workforce is no longer exclusively in-house and 9-5 – they are a mix of traditional and non-traditional staff such as remote workers, transient workers, hybrid workers, contractors, and temporary workers. 

The rising demand for flexible work options means that employee monitoring software solutions need to have the flexibility and features to support the unique needs of a blended workforce.

To monitor out-of-office employees, the software must support one of the following:

  • Local caching to allow for the temporary local collection of user behavior data until they are re-connected to the company’s internal network
  • Port forwarding to allow for live monitoring of out-of-office workers
  • The ability to deploy the employee monitoring software to a cloud server

Tracking of Both Users & Devices

A group of employees reviewing reports

Device monitoring will track all activity on a specific device whereas user monitoring will track the individual user regardless of the device they use. 

In a workplace setting where the employer wants to understand the browsing habits of individual employees, device-level insights may not provide sufficient details as their employees may not have a designated workstation (in the case of hot desking) or they may share devices with their coworkers.

When selecting an employee monitoring software vendor, organizations should ensure that both device-level and user-level monitoring is available to provide them with the best flexibility for their needs. Having access to both features is excellent for tailoring the insights reported based on the unique needs of managers, human resources, and IT administrators.

Administrative Permissions & Groupings

User grouping features such as Organizational Units (OUs) within Active Directory allow administrators to efficiently implement and adjust bespoke settings based on department, location, user, the types of information handled, and other important considerations. 

Bespoke settings ensure that the solution does not cause a bottleneck in productivity. Inflexible employee monitoring software will cause less at-risk users to have the same policy restrictions and monitoring policies as users that perform tasks with sensitive information such as personal health information (PHI).

For large enterprises and other expanding organizations, the ability to group users and devices based on location, department or role is crucial to limit the time investment required in managing the monitoring solution. 

Best-in-class employee monitoring software solutions allow for granular control of the product’s features including who can run reports, who has access to a given group’s reports, and who will receive automated email reports based on the activity of the designated groups.

Real-Time Alerts & Notifications

Real-time alerts and other notifications are a critical component of insider threat management as they can be configured to alert administrators to insider threats engaging in suspicious or risky behavior. 

Real time alerts can include: 

  • File Operations Alerts: Alerts when an attempt is made to copy files to an unauthorized external storage, when sensitive file types are being accessed, or other suspicious file operations. This is especially useful for preventing breaches caused by malicious insider threats.
  • Inappropriate Website Use: An employee attempts to access websites that are considered not safe for work (NSFW) in the organization.
  • Browsing/Bandwidth Limit Reached: An alert can be sent to users when they have exceeded their allotted browsing time or bandwidth usage for the day.

CurrentWare’s Employee Productivity Tracking & Security Software

CurrentWare is a software suite that includes employee monitoring software, device control software, web filtering software, and remote PC power management software. Each solution operates from the same central CurrentWare console; they can be purchased separately for the most flexibility or as a full suite for the best value.

CurrentWare is hosted on-premises with deployment options that support the monitoring and managing of remote workers. It can be installed transparently or in stealth mode, with the monitored employee oblivious to the software’s activities. Due to the lack of a mobile app or cross-platform support it is best used in Windows-based environments.

With CurrentWare you can monitor employee web browsing and software usage, prevent the use of unauthorized USB devices, and block access to certain apps and websites that are against your company’s standards.

When monitoring internet use, CurrentWare’s employee monitoring software BrowseReporter differentiates between active time and idle time to indicate if the employee was actually using their computer and whether or not they were actively browsing a given website.

Automated email alerts can be configured to notify managers, HR, and security personnel when unwanted activities occur such as visiting inappropriate websites or transferring files to USB storage devices.

Overview of Each Module

BrowseReporter Computer Monitoring Software

BrowseReporter is a versatile computer user activity monitoring software that helps organizations enforce policies, meet compliance requirements, and understand how their users operate – no matter where they’re located.

BrowseReporter’s detailed user activity reports provide insights like…

  • Are our users following organizational policies? Are there any unwanted activities that need to be addressed?
  • How engaged are our users? Do they spend the majority of their time on-task? And…
  • Are our users making use of the software we’ve invested in? Should we reduce the number of licenses we pay for?

The computer activity data is collected by a software agent that is installed on your computers. The agent connects to a database on your organization’s network, allowing you to maintain complete control over the data.

BrowseReporter’s central console allows you to run reports on your user’s computer activities from the convenience of a web browser. 

There are dozens of reports to choose from, including…

  • User productivity reports with an overview of how much time was spent on websites that are productive, unproductive, or neutral. These classifications can be customized to match what is productive for your users.
  • There are also detailed internet activity reports that show you what websites your users have visited, how long they spent browsing each site, and the amount of bandwidth consumed.
  • And finally, the application usage reports show you what software is being used, how long it was used for, and who was using it.

BrowseReporter’s reports can be generated on-demand, on a set schedule, or automatically sent to your inbox to alert you of specific events.

Using the End-User Reports feature you can even provide your users with on-demand access to their own data. This lets them benefit from the insights that you have.

BrowseReporter can even be deployed with optional privacy-enhancing features.

You can…

  • Display a custom message to notify users that they are being monitored
  • Make the client visible in the system tray
  • Stop monitoring outside of standard operating hours, and…
  • Disable certain types of tracking altogether 

These optional features allow you to customize your BrowseReporter deployment to fit the needs of your organization.

BrowseReporter is best used in tandem with our web filtering software BrowseControl. Using both solutions provides you with the visibility and control you need to ensure that your organization’s computers are being used appropriately

Ready to make data-informed decisions? Get actionable insights into the activity of your users with a free trial of BrowseReporter.

Get started today by visiting CurrentWare.com/Download

If you have any questions during your evaluation our technical support team is available to help you over a phone call, live chat, or email.

Thank you!

BrowseReporter is an employee monitoring software for tracking the websites and applications your employees use. It is the ideal tool to monitor employees for enforcing acceptable use policies, improving employee productivity and efficiency, and protecting your network against unwanted computer activities. 

With BrowseReporter installed on your employees computer it will capture the websites they visit and the applications they use. It includes a reporting utility for generating tabular and graphical user activity reports.

BrowseReporter includes an employee productivity report that compares the time that employees spend on websites that are productive vs those that are not. These classifications are pre-determined to start and can be customized to better fit what is considered productive for your organization.

AccessPatrol Device Control Software

AccessPatrol is a device control software that provides a proactive solution for protecting company data against data theft.

AccessPatrol includes device control features for a variety of peripheral devices including USBs, CD/DVDs, BlueTooth, WiFi, FireWire, iPods, and MP3s. Granular device control policies can be customized for each user, department, or organizational unit.

Company-authorized peripheral devices can be added to an allow list and temporary access codes can be generated by administrators to bypass restrictions in special circumstances. This provides companies with the means to monitor and restrict USB device use without affecting productivity and collaboration.

File operations alerts can be configured to notify IT administrators of suspicious USB activities, making it a valuable data loss prevention and security compliance tool. 

BrowseControl Web Filtering Software

BrowseControl web filtering software blocks websites based on URLs and content categories. Granular internet restriction policies can be customized for each user, department, or organizational unit. It includes other device restriction features such as an app blocker, port filter, and internet restriction scheduler.

enPowerManager Remote PC Power Manager
enPowerManager Logo, remote computer power management software

enPowerManager is an effective solution for remotely managing PC power policies. The central console allows businesses to configure advanced power policies and establish automatic startup and shutdown times to conserve energy and reduce costs.

enPowerManager includes reports on computer power states such as logon/logoff times and reports with timestamped startup/shutdown/hibernate events. These reports help technicians identify the uptime of remote endpoints and allows managers to verify that offsite employees are logging in and out during expected timeframes.

CurrentWare Pricing

A hand counts several $100 US bills

The full CurrentWare Suite starts at $6.50 USD per license per month for companies that purchase less than 100 licenses. 

When purchased individually, BrowseReporter, AccessPatrol, and BrowseControl start at $2.99 USD per license per month for companies that purchase less than 100 licenses. enPowerManger starts at $1.50 USD per license per month.

There are discounts available for large volumes of licenses, educational organizations, non-profits, managed services providers, and businesses that pre-purchase multiple year plans.

CurrentWare offers a 14 day free trial for up to 10 team members.

CurrentWare Suite Reviews

"When we first saw the employee tracking reports we were totally surprised by some of the behaviors that had gone under the radar" - Kevin Porsche, IT Admin, Shady Maple

”As a ‘novice’ I was able to set up with help from support in about an hour. Previous software took forever and didn’t work as advertised; this software worked right out of the box. It allows my workers to use the internet and make money for the practice without distraction/temptation to use personal websites/email/shopping.”
Gerard B., Office Manager

”The team and product have been nothing but a great experience. I’m glad I found this product because I was able to fill a hole in our security footprint quite easily. The team at Currentware reaches out quite frequently to check-in and even have me demo future deployments for feedback.”
Nicholas S., IT Service Desk Supervisor

”We are able to make sure employees are not spending work time on the internet, and if there is an issue we have the documentation to prove it.”
Ken W., IT Manager

”I have found the Real-time monitoring in conjunction with the Active vs Total Browsing time reports to be extremely helpful in getting the full picture of how efficient our workforce really is.”
Scott S., Sr Systems Engineer

Tips for Managing Employee Privacy

Employee monitoring is an excellent tool for understanding how your workforce operates.

Unfortunately a history of overly-invasive deployments has caused serious concerns among employees, like:

Is my employer spying on me?

They’re just doing this to find an excuse to fire me

If they’re monitoring what I do at work, they obviously don’t trust me

This is not what you want your employees to feel. 

In this video I’m going to guide you through the best practices for monitoring employees so you can avoid these mistakes and concerns from your employees

Hello and welcome to the CurrentWare YouTube channel. 

My name is Neel Lukka and I am the managing director here at CurrentWare.

After watching this video you can learn more about this topic by reading our new white paper “Employee Monitoring: Best practices for balancing productivity, security and privacy”

You can find the link for that in the description below.

Before we start, I just want to give a quick disclaimer here. 

I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. These tips are for informational purposes only. If you want to use employee monitoring software in your company be sure to consult with a legal professional first.

Alright, let’s jump in

First up is the very best tip I can give you.

If you want to succeed, you have to let your employees know that they are being monitored.

Employees that do not know if they are being monitored, why they are being monitored, and how they are being monitored are more likely to have negative reactions to being monitored, 

such as

Having higher rates of stress and anxiety

Being less likely to accept being monitored

And, ironically, becoming less productive

That’s not to say that transparency is going to negate each and every concern that your employees may have.

But if you start with transparency from the very beginning you have a far better chance of proving to your employees that these tools aren’t being used to spy on them. 

By being transparent you’re also giving the chance to hear about their concerns from the start. This lets you work with them to make an employee monitoring strategy that is fair and minimally invasive.

Here are 4 transparency boosting tips:

Involve a representative sample of employees when you start planning your goals and the metrics you want to capture

Tell your employees what metrics are being captured, how they’ll be used, and what is being used to capture them

Have your staff read and sign policies that disclose your intended use of the employee monitoring software

and finally, give them access to their own data so they can see exactly what’s being captured. They can even use this data to manage their own productivity, which is a major bonus

The second tip I have for you is don’t use employee monitoring to micromanage

One of the reasons that monitoring can be perceived negatively is that it feels like it’s being used to punish employees. They worry that it’s the software equivalent of a micromanaging boss staring over their shoulder while they work, just waiting for them to slip up.

Some employers do monitor internet use to make sure employees aren’t getting carried away, but did you know that so-called “unproductive” internet browsing has actually been found to have a positive impact on productivity?

It’s true! But only if that browsing doesn’t take up more than 12% of their work time.

Employees feel far better about being monitored when they’re given the autonomy to self-manage first. Managers can step in if things are getting carried away or if their employees are visiting clearly inappropriate websites.

The third and final tip I have for you today is to not monitor more than you have to.

Think about it this way – if I told you that I wanted to make sure that employee’s weren’t visiting not safe for work websites, you’d think I was crazy for asking for a direct feed into their webcams. 

The bottom line is this: 

If you can meet your company’s goals with a less invasive method of monitoring, do it that way.

For example, if you want some backup for your acceptable use policies you can use internet monitoring software to see what sites are being visited. 

But there’s no need to track individual keystrokes

Or maybe you want to protect data from being stolen. You can monitor the flow of data without recording audio clips of private conversations

Finally, maybe you want to track the work habits of employees that are working remotely or from home. Give them a company-provided device rather than monitoring their personal computers

That’s it for now. 

If you want learn more, check out our new white paper “Employee Monitoring: Best practices for balancing productivity, security and privacy”

You can find the link for that in the description below.

If you’d like to try out employee monitoring in your company, visit CurrentWare.com/Download for a free trial of BrowseReporter, our computer monitoring software.

And as always stay tuned to our YouTube channel for more videos about employee monitoring, cyber security, and CurrentWare’s workforce management software.

Free White Paper

Employee Monitoring: Best Practices for Balancing Productivity, Security, and Privacy

In today's privacy-conscious world employers need to monitor employees in a way that is transparent, minimally invasive, and respectful of employee privacy. Read this white paper to learn the best practices for monitoring employees in the workplace.

Employee Monitoring Case Studies

Shady Maple Follows Best Practices

“The employees find the reports to be an extremely helpful self-analysis tool, and use the reports to analyze and reconfigure priorities!”

Shady Maple is a farm market and fresh produce distributor based in Eastern Pennsylvania, USA. They use employee monitoring and web filtering software to manage employee productivity and enforce the acceptable use of technology in the workplace.

Problem

During a period of rapid expansion Shady Maple realized that they needed to adapt their productivity management methods to scale with them. Excessive unproductive web browsing and file downloads were hogging the available bandwidth and distracting their employees. Without centralized access to web activity data they had no way to address this misuse of company resources.

Solution

Employee monitoring reports from BrowseReporter gave Shady Maple the exact insights they needed to address the misuse of technology in the workplace. They could readily identify the websites that were responsible for excessive bandwidth consumption, address inappropriate web activity in the workplace, and provide employees with an opportunity to self-manage their non-work web browsing.

BrowseControl’s category web filtering feature provided Shady Maple with a quick and convenient solution for proactively blocking websites that were known to contain pornography and other unsuitable content for their workplace.

Results

  • Improved bandwidth availability. Bandwidth usage reports provided an opportunity to coach employees on Shady Maple’s internet use policies and block frequently abused websites that were unproductive and bandwidth-intensive. Employees were delighted by the increased productivity caused by improved network speeds.
  • A safer workplace. Shady Maple protected their network and their employees from unsafe and inappropriate websites. Continuous monitoring and web filtering became an integral part of their operations, allowing them to detect and block high-risk web activity.
  • Greater employee engagement. Direct access to their own web activity reports empowered Shady Maple’s employees to self-manage their productivity. With a scalable way to manage internet abuse without sacrificing autonomy Shady Maple noticed immediate improvements in the productivity of their employees.
  • Data-informed management. Employee monitoring reports gave Shady Maple’s Human Resources department the ability to present tangible evidence of disinclination to employees who had been underperforming.

Barclays Lack of Transparency Backfires

“The stress this is causing is beyond belief. It shows an utter disregard for employee wellbeing. Employees are worried to step away from their desks, have full lunch breaks, take bathroom breaks or even get up for water as we are not aware of the repercussions this might have on our statistics” - Barclays whistleblower via City A.M.

Barclays is a bank based in the UK. As they process data of European citizens they are expected to be compliant with GDPR’s data processing requirements. A lack of transparency surrounding their employee monitoring practices prompted an investigation in August of 2020 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the United Kingdom’s privacy watchdog. 

Problem

Barclays installed productivity monitoring software on their employee’s workstations without their knowledge, consultation, or informed consent. Employees unexpectedly began receiving automated warnings once they fell below a certain activity threshold. The time that employees normally spent away from their computers became a source of inactivity that the program used to determine who would receive the warnings. 

Because Barclays did not communicate their intentions before implementing the solution, their employees were uncertain as to how their activity data would be used. They became increasingly concerned that time spent stepping away from their desks, having full lunch breaks, or taking bathroom breaks would be used against them in performance evaluations.

Results

Barclays wasn’t wrong for wanting greater productivity from its workforce. Unfortunately their implementation lacked the transparency necessary to adequately communicate the goals and intentions of their solution. The combination of ambiguity and automated warnings caused their workforce analytics project to be perceived as an oppressive top-down disciplinary tool. 

Dale Strickland
Dale Strickland
Dale Strickland is a Marketing Coordinator for CurrentWare, a global provider of endpoint security and employee monitoring software. Dale’s diverse multimedia background allows him the opportunity to produce a variety of content for CurrentWare including blogs, infographics, videos, eBooks, and social media shareables.