Quite a few businesses, especially those lacking a professional culture, have had to resort to workplace monitoring. Workplace monitoring helps ensure employees remain safe and focus on their work. Certainly, not all areas in a workplace need monitored, yet cameras and other forms of surveillance equipment are becoming far more familiar to employees in all industries. This begs the question of when it is best to monitor employees and when it is not. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of workplace monitoring is a necessary step in understanding the effects of this business practice.
Today, surveillance equipment is relatively cheap, compact, and easy to install, thus monitoring the workplace may be very inexpensive. Meanwhile, just the idea of potential oversight might be enough to discourage many wrongdoings and it gives employers the opportunity to spot check how their employees work. For some businesses, this can be useful when trying to increase productivity. At the same time, with real time monitoring, management can stop inappropriate or harmful behavior while a record continues to exist for at least a few hours.
On the other hand, emphasizing the fact someone is always watching can breed distrust and resentment. If an employer expects employees to behave responsibly, workplace monitoring can undermine the professional nature of the environment. No one wants to be treated like a child and doing so just that encourages resentment. The fallout from this type of treatment can be a workforce bent on finding ways around efforts to monitor their behavior or other means of exacting revenge.
For most businesses, balance in workplace monitoring is necessary to encourage employees to act like professionals. It is, therefore, important for employers to use monitoring first as a tool to keep employees safe then to ensure they behave. Where misbehavior is an issue, monitoring may be a very good solution while work environments, where professionalism is an essential prerequisite for success, need a stronger effort on behalf of management to develop the workforce.
No matter how well management thinks it can monitor its subordinates, there are ways around that oversight. As such, employers must invest time into developing trusted employees who have a strong work ethic versus resentment toward management. Monitoring should always, however, be used to keep employees safe when possible. Outside of this application, employers must be careful as they could be wasting resources or breeding hostilities in the workplace.