5 methods companies use to monitor employees legally

Monitoring employees is a critical aspect of managing internal processes. With everything going on in the world today, employers are going to practically insane lengths just to protect their companies.

Employee monitoring is one of the ways they can optimize productivity and profits. For example, it can help to detect and prevent fraud or enforce internal policies.

There’s nothing wrong with monitoring employees, as long as it doesn’t infringe on their right to privacy. After all, companies want their invested money for the best return possible.

But do you actually know how companies monitor their employee activities today? We take a look at five common ways in this article.

Video Surveillance

Video surveillance is one of the most common ways companies monitor their employees. It can be used for different purposes which include;

Monitoring employee behavior

Employees that work alone or in small groups often work at their own pace and may get distracted by personal phone calls, text messages, and other distractions. Video surveillance allows employers to monitor their employees’ performance and ensure that they are completing tasks in a timely manner.

Preventing theft

Businesses that sell products or services often need to prevent employee theft. Video surveillance allows employers to see if any employees are taking products without paying for them or otherwise stealing from the company.

Managing overtime costs

Many companies require employees to work overtime on certain days. When employers use video surveillance systems designed for time and attendance tracking, they can review the hours their employees worked and only pay them for hours they worked beyond what was required by their job descriptions.

Monitoring Company Phone Conversations

Monitoring employees’ phone conversations using the company’s devices is usually the easiest to implement. Employers can listen to their employees’ phone conversations by either installing software on the employee’s phone or by having the phone company record all calls made from the office.

You can’t listen to every employee’s phone call, but you should be aware of how many calls they’re making. Pay attention to who they’re calling and how often they’re making calls.

If one employee is using up all their allotted minutes making personal calls, it might be time to investigate further.

Computer Monitoring Tools

One of the most popular methods that employers use to monitor their employees’ computers is by using a computer monitoring tool.

Employers use these tools to ensure that employees are working productively during their work hours. They also allow employers to see what websites they’re visiting, how much time they’re spending on those websites, and how much data they’re using while browsing them.

 A lot of these tools also give managers the ability to track what programs their employees are using on their computers and how long they’ve been using them. This allows managers to see if an employee has been slacking off when it comes to completing certain tasks or projects at work.

Cell Phone Monitoring

Employers can also check employees’ cell phones for texts and messages sent or received during work hours. For example, if an employer suspects an employee of using his or her cell phone for personal calls during working hours, he or she may be able to access the employee’s text messages to determine whether there is any evidence suggesting that they were indeed making personal calls during working hours.

Employers may also be able to monitor an employee’s online activities via their personal cell phone if they have installed apps such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp on their phones.


The most widespread form of employee monitoring today is through email accounts. Some companies read all emails sent by employees, while others only check for certain keywords.

Either way, an employee should never send sensitive information through email because it could end up in the wrong hands if it’s monitored by an employer.

Employers are legally required to monitor employees’ email accounts in certain situations. The most common is when an employee uses a workplace computer for personal use. They also monitor employee email accounts if they suspect that an employee is using work computers or devices to commit fraud, steal trade secrets or engage in any other unlawful activity.


Overall, monitoring employees has become a big area of litigation. While many businesses utilize surveillance and other information to ensure that their employees are carrying out business in a manner consistent with the business’s overall values and objectives, there are limits. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them before rolling out any of the above methods.

Companies have to be careful when it comes to monitoring their workers, but there is also a need for businesses to track worker performance in order to ensure the company stays profitable.

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