You better think twice about criticizing your boss when you send an e-mail to a co-worker. Increasingly, companies are reading e-mail and monitoring other forms of communication and activity as well.

It’s estimated that 78 percent of U.S. businesses use workplace surveillance methods, according to a survey by the American Management Association (AMA). The practice of using technology to watch the workforce is becoming more common every year. The organization has found that since 1997, the number of companies using electronic oversight has doubled.

Monitoring Internet connections is the most common type of employee monitoring. The AMA survey found that 54 percent of businesses collect such data. The larger the company, the more likely it is to monitor its workforce in some way.

Notify your staff
You may not know if your boss is videotaping you or counting the number of keystrokes you make on the computer. Twenty-two percent of companies don’t inform workers that electronic monitoring is taking place. The AMA recommends that management notify employees of surveillance and inform them that their actions and communications are subject to review. It’s an issue that managers will likely deal with more often in the coming years since workplace surveillance is becoming more common.

Are you watching your workers? Why? Have you ever fired anyone after surveillance revealed that a worker wasn’t doing his or her job? Post a comment below or send us an e-mail—if you dare.