computer data monitoringThe relationship between workers, their devices and company material can be hazardous if left unmonitored.

Did your employer review their BYOD or employee monitoring policies with you during your onboarding process? Or, has your company’s leadership team made any changes to their policy as cellphones and other mobile devices have been allowed access to company email and files?

As more mobile devices enter the workplace, employers have started extending their data monitoring policies to worker’s personal technology. Although employee monitoring is not a new concept and is often expected in the office, there is a strong aversion to cellphone monitoring, especially among millennials.

Need for Education

According to a nationwide study by TechnologyAdvice Research, more than a third of office workers don’t know their employers’ data monitoring policies.

“The responses suggest a need for greater transparency or education efforts among company management about monitoring policies in order to keep employees engaged and maintain trust in company policies and values,” said TechnologyAdvice Managing Editor Cameron Graham, the study’s author. About 20 percent of respondents were unaware of whether their activity was monitored, while 15.6 percent were aware that their computer use was monitored somehow, but were unsure of the specifics.

Employee Sentiment on Being Monitored

There is a major split in how employees feel about computer monitoring as opposed to mobile device monitoring in the workplace. “Employees seem fairly comfortable in general with employers tracking their computer use at work, considering only 19 percent of respondents said they often or sometimes worry about their employer viewing their Internet history,” said Graham.

But 64.3 percent of office employees stated they would be at least somewhat uncomfortable with their cellphone being monitored during work hours. This is especially true for millennial respondents, who reported being more uncomfortable with cellphone monitoring, but were also found to be less likely to know how they were being monitored.

“There is a clear concern when it comes to employers tracking cellphone use, which respondents viewed as a greater concern than keylogging software or video surveillance,” Graham said. “That fear of cellphone monitoring doesn’t seem to be based on negative experiences, though, with roughly just 1 in 20 employees saying they’ve been questioned about such use.”

BYOD Policy Concerns

Millennials are poised to make up 44 percent of the work population by 2025, yet are the least likely to know the details of employee monitoring policies, despite expressing more concern about mobile device privacy than other age group. As this younger demographic moves into the workforce, employers will likely face growing challenges over Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and mobile device monitoring.

“Involving all relevant parties in policy creation could help ease concerns over monitoring, and strike a balance in maintaining control over company information while discouraging insecure device use,” said Graham.


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