Companies have long been able to monitor their employees; they can check time spent on work computers, review key strokes, and access personal company issued emails. Does this mean that people are instilled with the fear of Big Brother watching over them? Not according to a recent study “Finger on the Pulse,” conducted by Horizon,
In fact, more than half (55%) of those polled believe that their company has the right to monitor their employees’ activities. Further, 13% said “I completely side with the company: My company has the right to monitor everything I do while I’m at work, via email, video, voice recording, and however else they deem necessary,” and 42% said, “I somewhat side with the company: I’m fine with my company monitoring my email and phone calls when I’m using company devices, but anything beyond that is too much.”
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Conversely, 45% lean more towards employees’ rights, with 33% who said, “I somewhat side with the employee: I should be able to expect some privacy at work, my company shouldn’t be tracking me daily, but they should be able to check in if a specific issue arises,” and 12% said, “I completely side with the employee: I’m entitled to complete privacy even when I’m at work and using company devices – this isn’t Big Brother.”
“Our study shows that over half of people seem to be lenient and take their employers side when it comes to privacy monitoring at work,” said Eliza Fedewicz, Horizon head of conversation, The WHY Group, Horizon Media. “We assume that this is a combination of people becoming more desensitized about their personal privacy regardless of where they are, but also a heighten collective awareness of company policies and the potential legal and financial implications to their employers if an employee misbehaves, even if unintentional.”
And there’s a difference, between those respondents currently in the workforce (16%), and those respondents who are currently unemployed (7%). Those currently working have a much higher tolerance for their companies to monitor “everything they do while at work, via email, video, and voice.” An additional 42% “are fine” with their company monitoring their email and phone calls when using company devices, “but anything beyond that is too much.”
Maybe its because they’re closer to having a big “beware, do not enter” sign on their family home bedroom, but more than half of the younger generation (ages 18-34) are more likely to support their right to privacy at work. They also believe that companies should only be able to check on them if a specific issue arises.
Conversely, of those who are 55 and older, only 41% of them stringently advocate for their right to privacy.
Employers equate monitoring their employees through their tech with cybersecurity. “We believe companies typically monitor employees activities due to potential risks of data breaches and to assess productivity levels,” Fedewicz said.
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