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Remote employee monitoring: Why it is necessary

Can employers keep an eye on remote employees? Is it legal? These are questions that every employee deserves an answer for, especially when many companies are slowly getting used work from the home norm.

To answer in a nutshell, yes it is legally ok for employers to implement surveillance strategies for their remote-working employees. But there’s a catch to this power: It has to be done right. 

There are many reasons why a company would want to keep track of their employees' work activities:

  • To maintain a systematic workflow without an office setup is one of the foremost reasons for using remote employee monitoring tools. 
  • To track the time and effort taken to complete projects. 
  • To maintain transparency with clients regarding the completion of their projects.
  • To present a transparent bill that accounts for all the working hours of the employees.
  • To streamline the use of human, digital and financial resources.
  • To identify weaknesses in the workflow system and make proper rectifications.
  • To protect the integrity of sensitive data from malicious cyber activities. 
  • To seek intellectual property such as trade secrets.
  • To discourage employees from indulging in unwanted distractions.
  • To ensure timely delivery of projects with uncompromised quality of work.

Legal aspects of using remote employee monitoring software

With the rising trend of implementing employee surveillance, the lawmakers of every country have perked up to the situation and set stringent legal rules in using the surveillance software. In India, the Information Technology Act 2000, allows employee monitoring as long as there is a reasonable and legitimate business intent. The law clearly states that the monitoring should not intrude on the worker’s privacy and personal space.

Also Read : The rising trend of employee monitoring

Here are some other important aspects of legally implementing the monitoring software in India:

  • It is legal to monitor and access an employee work-related contents with a clear and documented work-place policy.
  • Employers can ensure that their employees are using the internet for work-related purposes during the stipulated work hours. They can monitor and restrict employees from using social media platforms during that time.
  • Employers have the right to monitor email content only if they have informed their employees.
  • While video-monitoring of employee activities is legal, it is illegal to record or eavesdrop on conversations recorded on CCTV cameras.
  • To monitor employees working remotely with their own devices, companies should get the consent of the employees. Before that, they must clearly state the extent of the monitoring. 
  • Notifying all the employees is one of the most important legal aspects. The process cannot be implemented without written consent.
Illustration depicting a person viewing employee tracking software

The pros and cons of using employee monitoring software

Employee monitoring is a trend that comes with advantages and disadvantages. It is best to understand what they are before implementing the process.

The pros

  • Employee monitoring is an effective step to ensure enhanced productivity even if the employees are working from any corner of the world. 
  • Workers are more conscious of their actions, which makes them put in the extra effort.
  • It is a tool that tells the employer how worthwhile his/her investment is. 
  • It sheds light on unproductive workers who can be replaced or trained for better performance.
  • It is a cost-effective choice that generates incredible ROI.
  • It allows employers to track how their resources are being used.
  • It grants easy access to important files, and documents and also installs software.
  • It protects the company from cyber-related threats and loss of digital data.
Image depicting how the remote working is implemented through employee monitoring software

The cons

  • Employee surveillance may not go well with all employees. It can cause trust issues that can be reflected in the work.
  • Breaking down employee activity can be a time-consuming process.
  • Unlimited access to personal information can give way to illegal misuse. 

Offering unbiased protection to all employees

No worker should feel oppressed or targetted by surveillance. Disproportionate surveillance of a diverse group or marginalized group of employees could invite legal and reputational problems, aside from irreversibly damaging the ethical code.  Employee surveillance should be implemented in a manner that is fair for everyone on the employee ladder. 

Decreasing monitoring whenever possible.

Monitoring should be a controlled process from the word “Go”. Employers need not keep their workforce on a leash all the time. They should identify when and where to pull back their monitoring efforts and grant their workforce the freedom to do their work as long as things are going well. 

HRAPP, India: The reputed name for remote employee monitoring software

With more organizations in India relying on remote employee monitoring software, HRAPP offers a solution that is designed to be user-friendly and employee-friendly. Want to know how to legally implement our software in your system? Talk to our technical team for more guidance.

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