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.

employee monitoring

Computer Monitoring More Acceptable

53% of employees surveyed said a policy to monitor mobile phones would make them nervous at work, reflecting concern compared to keylogging software or video surveillance. 19% said they frequently worry about their Internet history being viewed.
employee monitoring

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.

employee monitoring

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.

 employee monitoring

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%

employee monitoring

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.

employee monitoring

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.

employee monitoring

Need for Greater Transparency

Employees who don’t know they’re being tracked may later feel violated and disconnected from company policies and values. Greater transparency or education efforts can help, as can stressing the importance of engagement and disclosing policies to establish trust.
Need for Greater Transparency


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computer monitoring

  • View Real-time Screen Snapshot
  • 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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