A growing number of companies are allowing their employees to work from home for at least part of the workweek. As a result, the use of software to monitor employees working at home has become increasingly popular.
This software is designed to track and record remote employees’ digital activities, including emails, instant messages, web site history, program usage, downloads, social media usage, and more. It also logs every keystroke and takes screenshots of your employees’ devices, so you can see exactly what they are doing when working remotely.
Using this type of software is crucial to successfully managing a team of remote employees. But it’s important to follow a specific, structured process when introducing the use of monitoring software for the first time. Here are the steps you should follow to start using software to monitor employees working at home:
There are a number of different monitoring tools to choose from, so it’s important to take the time to find the right one for your needs. Look for monitoring software that is designed with these key features:
It’s important to consider the legal aspects of employee monitoring before using this software. There are no federal laws that prohibit employers from using software to monitor their employees’ digital activities. In fact, a federal judge once ruled that employers can read their employees’ personal emails even if they have already told their employees they would not.
However, the laws vary from state-to-state. Several states have established laws that restrict what employers can and cannot do when it comes to monitoring their employees.
For example, in the state of Connecticut, employers are required to give prior written notice to employees before they begin monitoring their digital activities. If they fail to give this written notice prior to monitoring their employees, they could face legal penalties.
The state of Delaware has established a similar law. In Delaware, employers are required to provide notice to their employees prior to monitoring their electronic activity. Furthermore, the notice must be acknowledged by the employees either in writing or electronically.
No states prohibit the use of monitoring software, but some states do have certain restrictions in place. Make sure you are familiar with the laws in your state before you start monitoring your employees. This will help you avoid legal penalties associated with violating these laws.
The next step is putting an employee monitoring policy in writing. You should follow through with this step regardless of whether or not you are required by law to put an employee monitoring policy in writing.
This policy will serve two purposes: to establish monitoring guidelines and educate your employees about these guidelines.
Start by outlining exactly what you plan on monitoring. Describe the specific digital activities that you will be monitoring. For example, specify whether you are only tracking employees’ emails or if you will also be tracking other types of digital activities, such as instant messages and search histories.
Address who will be monitored, too. If you only plan on monitoring certain teams, now is the time to mention it. However, if the software will be used to monitor all employees, make that clear in your policy.
You should also address how you will collect this information and who will have access to it. This is because it’s important for employees to know what tools are being used to monitor their activities and who will have access to their personal data.
This section should also address how long you plan on holding on to this information. If you will destroy the data after a certain period of time, include that information in this section of the policy.
Do not include an excessive amount of legal jargon in this policy. It should be clearly written and easy for all employees to understand regardless of whether or not they have a law degree.
Once the policy has been finalized, make sure every employee receives a copy. This policy should also be included in the employee handbook and distributed to new hires during onboarding.
It is possible to deploy employee monitoring software on your employees’ devices without their knowledge. But this isn’t recommended. It’s best to discuss the issue of monitoring with your employees prior to installing the software on their devices. Give them time to review the new monitoring policy before having this discussion.
During this conversation, make it clear that you are not using monitoring software to spy on your employees. Focus on explaining how the use of this software can improve productivity, assist workplace investigators, and protect the company from data breaches and other criminal activities. Your employees should not feel as if they are being monitored because you don’t trust them.
Take the time to explain to your employees how monitoring software can benefit them, too. For example, this software can be used to help managers identify the strongest members of their team to ensure they are recognized and rewarded for their hard work.
Employees may still have questions or concerns even after you have provided this information to them. Encourage them to share their opinions, and make an effort to answer their questions and address their concerns in an honest manner. This might be an uncomfortable conversation, but it is a crucial part of establishing trust with your employees.
Let your employees know that they are welcome to share their feedback with you once the monitoring software has been installed. This way, they know that your door is always open if they would like to continue this conversation at a later date.
Now, you can start the process of monitoring your remote employees. You don’t need to be an IT professional to set up InterGuard software on your employees’ company-owned devices. It’s easy to set up InterGuard and start tracking your employees’ digital activities.
You don’t even need to be in physical possession of the devices in order to install this software. InterGuard can be remotely deployed to your employees’ devices regardless of whether they are working in the office or at home.
Don’t wait any longer to take control and gain oversight of your remote employees. Learn more about how InterGuard software can help your team by taking an online test drive or starting a free trial today.