Monitoring staff at work is what most employers would like to do and what most employees would reject at once. A typical reaction to an idea of using an employee monitoring software in a company, as a matter of fact.
However, the major point here is to really grasp the idea of implementing the software. If your intention is just to know what makes your staff busy during the working hours then it’s hardly the best approach. In this case all you get is just a retrospection of what they’ve been doing. But, indeed, there’s little use in knowing that Andrew was late for 20 minutes yesterday – it’s hardly enough to make quick conclusions on his productivity.
Prevention Instead of Retrospection
What the employee monitoring software is really capable of is prevention of everything managers dislike: discipline violations, Internet misuse, etc. It works perfectly well for fostering organizational discipline and responsible attitude towards the job.
Even research showed we can behave better if being monitored. In particular, in 1950 Henry Landsberger made an observation (based on Hawthorne experiments of 1927-1932) that people had really changed their behavior as a response to the outside attention (their productivity went up).
Simply informing employees they would be monitored is highly mobilizing for the latter. Research shows they tend to make shorter breaks, log out of social networks and deal with private matters at work less. In other words, they reduce the number of unproductive and distracting activities in favor of productive ones.
What Should Be Done Initially?
What’s really needed on the part of employers is making things clear in the first place – explaining how that software works, clarifying doubts, eliminating ambiguities, giving answers to the questions. As always, honesty is the best policy. Making the monitoring process transparent and announcing the rules beforehand allows avoiding much trouble.
To sum up, using employee monitoring software is a strategically wise decision – you just don’t let these problems appear in the first place which is always better than fixing everything up when it’s already late.