Why Spying On Your Employees is Good for Business

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Device Monitoring Software Can Benefit Productivity and Security

When operating a small business, even the smallest of issues can derail your plans. Some of the main concerns that businesses have relate to their employees since human beings are the most unpredictable asset! That is why a growing number of employers are turning to cell phone monitoring software to pinpoint problems within the workforce. It is believed that upwards of 45% of businesses use mobile monitoring, a figure that is growing with each passing day.

Why Mobile Monitoring Is Helpful For Both Sides

When we think of employers using mobile phone monitoring, the knee jerk reaction is to think that it is an invasion of the employees’ privacy. There are two issues here – the moral one and the legal one. We’ll take a look at the legal side in a moment, so for now let’s talk about the moral side of things.

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Is it right to monitor employees? Believe it or not, this practice actually has benefits for those on both sides of the equation.

The Benefits for Employers

From an employer’s point of view, there are three main reasons to use mobile phone monitoring:

  • To safeguard important data and reduce cybercrime
  • To prevent theft
  • To increase productivity

When it comes to safeguarding data and preventing cybercrime, monitoring employee mobile phones can help pinpoint where weaknesses are in the system.

A recent study showed that around 31% of employees admit to sending confidential information, such as financial data and private product data, to recipients outside of the business using email. This is a serious security issue.

By using mobile monitoring software, employers are able to intercept employee mail and discover who is guilty of these breaches and offer retraining or disciplinary action as appropriate.

Productivity is another huge issues for small business owners. It may not seem like a huge deal if an employee makes the odd personal call or browses the internet for a half hour, but if you have 1000-person staff who each use the internet for one hour a day, your business could be losing more than $35 million per year in lost man hours.

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Studies show that a staggering 60% of online shopping purchases are made from work and around 40% of internet use during office hours is spent on non-work related web browsing. The use of mobile monitoring software can alert you to non-work-related calls and web browsing while the GPS tracking will let you know if your employees are where they are supposed to be and if they are leaving the office early.

The Benefits For Employees

So, we know what employers are getting out of mobile phone monitoring, but what are the advantages from the point of view of employees? One of the most innovative ways that cell phone monitoring is being used to employees’ advantage is as a motivational tool.

By tracking which employees are consistently putting in overtime, not using company devices for personal use, and by monitoring the quality of their work, it is possible to highlight and reward the top performers for their hard work. It can also be used to highlight who needs additional training.

How To Choose Cell Phone Tracking Software

There are many different cell phone tracking applications on the market and choosing just one can be incredibly daunting for a small business owner, especially if it is the first time they are shopping for such a service.

Here are a few tips to help you to choose the right cell phone tracking software:

  • If a developer suggests that their application can be installed remotely, then it will not work. In order to successfully monitor a cell phone, you will need access to the devices during the installation process.
  • Similarly, free applications are not powerful enough to offer a decent level of tracking.
  • All cell phone monitoring applications are not created equally! The included features will differ from app to app and you may find that you need a premium version to get all of the features that you need. It is a good idea to make a list of the features that you want and then look for applications which can offer the majority of them.

Getting It Right

If you are going to implement employee monitoring, then it is important that you do things properly so as not to breach privacy laws. These laws are often complicated and vary depending on where your business is based, but it is possible to simplify them to create some general rules.

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The first basic rule is that you must own or be paying for the device which you are monitoring, which means that you cannot install monitoring software on your employees’ own personal cell phones, even if they do use them for work. You can only monitor company-issued devices.

The second basic rule is that your employees have the right to know that they are being monitored, so you must make them aware of before installing the software. Most business owners include a clause in contracts or policy documents, but your legal team should be able to help you with this requirement.

 

To summarize, using mobile phone monitoring can be a useful tool for small business owners; however it can also benefit the employees who are under scrutiny. It is important that small business owners who decide to engage in this type of monitoring take the time to choose the right software and that they remain within the boundaries of the law.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Katrin Deres works as a marketing manager at mSpy, a mobile tracking company.  She is a passionate blogger who loves writing about cell phone software and mobile technologies that help people.