Enterprises that monitor employees’ use of tablets and smartphones risk alienating workers, particularly millennials, and possibly causing a backlash, according to a new study. These young workers expect to use mobile devices for both work and personal activities and show “clear aversion to having these devices monitored,” states the report, titled “Data Monitoring and Employee Privacy.” TechnologyAdvice, which provides resources to help companies compare products, conducted the study to understand the state of employee monitoring. The sample consisted of 401 American office employees between the ages of 25 and 54. Respondents were asked about their current workplace policies, how they feel about various monitoring techniques and whether any specific policies would make them uncomfortable or nervous at work. “There is clear concern when it comes to employers tracking cell phone use, which respondents viewed as a greater concern than key logging software or video surveillance,” said survey author and TechnologyAdvice Managing Editor Cameron Graham.
BYOD vs. Device Monitoring
63% of employees surveyed said they would be somewhat or very uncomfortable with their cell phones being monitored during work hours.
Computer Monitoring More Acceptable
Awareness of Employer Monitoring
20% of employees surveyed don’t know if they are being monitored at work. 16% percent know they are being tracked, but don’t know how. 26% know their computer use is tracked. 27% say computer use is not tracked. 12% are aware that Web browsing is monitored.
Generation Gap in Awareness of Tracking
Employees under the age of 35 are less likely to know whether their computer use is being monitored. 26% of millennials surveyed are unaware of their workplace policies, compared to 17% of respondents between the ages of 45 and 54.
Younger Employees Excluded From Policymaking
Millennials may be less aware of workplace policies than older employees because they occupy entry-level positions and are more likely to be excluded from policy decisions.
How Employees Feel About Monitoring
Employees are more comfortable with computer use being monitored than mobile phone use. The breakdown of employees uncomfortable with monitoring tactics are as follows: Cell Phone Monitoring: 53%, Office Video Surveillance: 44.7%, Key Logging Software: 41.1%, Time Tracking Software: 31.7%, None of the above: 26.1%
Employees Uncomfortable With Cell Phone Monitoring
Cell phone monitoring was the only tactic that a majority of employees said would make them nervous or uncomfortable. Of those: 61.5% are between the ages of 25 and 34, 48.7% are between 35 and 44, 47.7% are between 45 and 54 years old.
Internet History of Less Concern
Employees also worry, but to a lesser extent, about their Web surfing activity being monitored. 19% of employees surveyed said they are often or sometimes worried about their employer knowing their Internet history.
Need for Greater Transparency
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- Monitor Skype or Other Chat/IM Activity
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- Track web browsing history
- Block access to any website
- Remote PC Maintenance
- Program Activity
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