Second reason why employers must install monitoring software in the workplace is that it has been proven that employees waste office hours using the Internet. Based on a study from Salary. com and America Online, the internet is the top most time waster for employers at work followed only by peers. The percentage of the internet as is 44. 7% while the peer interaction is only around 23. 4%. The study further revealed that on the average 2. 09 hours per 8 hour work day is spent by employees in Internet Surfing of non-work related sites.
An article from Healthy Workplaces Inc. showed six cases that companies had been victims of Internet abuse by their employees. An insurance company had blocked access in sports websites during the NCAA basketball tournament because of the large number of employees logging on. Xerox had fired several employees because of surfing the Internet for non-work related reasons for almost eight hours a day. It was noted by the management of Compaq Computers that their employees had been logging on to hundreds of pornographic websites during the workday.
Twenty-seven percent of Fortune 500 companies have had to defend against claims of sexual harassment stemming from e-mail and Internet use. An employee at one small company was found to be operating a successful business on e-Bay at work. Lastly, it has been estimated that more than 30% of employee web surfing during the workday is non-work related. Based on the following case, it just shows that if management would not provide any monitoring tools in the workplace, employees may continue to abuse the use of the Internet in the workplace.
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In an article from Cutler (2005), 62% of male employees in the US and 54% of female employees have accessed non-work related websites on company computers Productivity of the employees is another important factor that is being addressed in Internet Abuse. When employees waste their time surfing the net, it is only logical to think that precious time is being wasted. Internet Surfing during the workday can be considered as company time.
It is hard to blame the companies for monitoring the employees’ actions because there had been many evidences showing the Internet is the source of time wastage of the employees. Another is that the Internet can also be a source of malicious acts, dishonesty and wrongdoings of employees. The study also gave reasons provided by the employees for wasting their time are first, they don’t have enough work to do which is around 33. 2% of the respondents and the second highest is that 23. 4% feel as if they are underpaid.
Appendix A and B shows the top 10 time-wasting activities and the top 5 reasons why the employees waste their time. According to the Malachowski, if time-wasting would be quantified total lost salary cost $ 759 Billion per year. There are two types of employee monitoring according to Deacons (2004), these are covert surveillance and overt surveillance. Overt Surveillance is a type of monitoring where notice is given to the subject before and during the monitoring. The notices are usually given as visible signs or warning is given to the subject.
An example of which is the use of cameras in the workplace. Covert Surveillance is a type of monitoring conducted without the knowledge of the employee or the subject. Covert Surveillance is considered as an intrusive and is regulated more stringently. Issues surrounding the workplace monitoring of the company and employees is that employees think of these monitoring methods as an invasion of their privacy. There are several effects regarding the monitoring issue of the employees.
In the same article from Deacons (2004), the author stated that the knowledge of the employees about the monitoring scheme of the company results in increased pressure to meet performance levels, low morale and resentment. Based on a study from the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for Bell Canada, higher levels of stress is seen in monitored employees, 27% have experience an increase occurrence of pain or stiff shoulders, 23% have experience increase in neck pressure and 21% had experience an increase in back pain.
As shown, stress from monitoring of management can create medical expense, lost time and absenteeism. Using covert surveillance can be interpreted as a breach of privacy if it is discovered by the employees. As reported by Microsoft and London School of Economies, providing information can greatly facilitate coordination at work. It was further explained that “Mutual trust is not an added bonus of the mobile organization, it is an absolute core principle…
Mistrust results in the perceived need to engage in activities only serving the purpose of demonstrating ability internally and not generating business value. ” In the article of Healthy Workplaces, it is better for companies to use overt surveillance or openly tell its employees that they are being monitored. This is so because the company should still provide a climate of mutual trust and respect for the employees. Proper monitoring is necessary so that the employers would not be accused of infringing the rights of their employees because of surveillance.
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