Supervisory Leadership

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Wally Bock Answers Your
Supervisory Leadership Question

Our company is considering a system to monitor all employee computers to make sure no one does anything they shouldn't. What do you think?

There are two major dangers in the workplace monitoring/privacy debate. One the one side there is the employer, facing the danger of compromised information and liability for employee activities conducted on company time and with company equipment. On the other side are the vast majority of employees who are responsible, productive and conscientious.

In other words, there are legitimate reasons to monitor or review communications on the job. And there is the American idea that your private life is your own and not only should you not be subject to unreasonable search and seizure, you shouldn't be subject to unreasonable snooping either.

Companies need to be clear about why they monitor, what good and bad behavior is, and what the consequences of behavior are. That needs to be both clear and repeated.

Most productivity issues should not be handled by monitoring, but by supervisors. That leaves monitoring, sampling, or review for criminal, information compromise, and liability issues.

Wally

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