With all of its conveniences, technology has its drawbacks. Sometimes, those drawbacks are disturbing and might actually affect our work lives. So, while that creepy ex-girlfriend or -boyfriend’s stalkerish ways have scared you out of checking in anywhere on Foursquare, there may be another person, very close to you, who is monitoring your whereabouts. And, much like creepy McCreep from your past, you may not even know about it and he or she doesn’t have to tell you.
(Photo Credit: Pjotr Savitski/Flickr)
Here’s a riddle. Who sometimes requires enormous amounts of your time and energy and may also know where you are eating … right … now?
No. Not your ex. And, not that girl you met on OkCupid that you had to file a restraining order against.
The answer is, your boss.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, it is now commonly accepted for an employer to monitor and track employees. Dennis Gray installed GPS software onto the company-issued smartphones of five of 18 drivers for his pest-control company. He was then able to log onto his computer to see what these employees were up to. One of the employees admitted to hanging out at a woman’s house during work hours and one said he was just “blowing off work.” Both employees were fired. (Incidentally, how the other three employees felt about being monitored wasn’t included in the article.)
Just in case you happen to be on Team If You’re Working You Have Nothing to Worry About, it isn’t just GPS. Inexpensive software allows managers to not only track you with mobile devices, but also eavesdrop on phone calls and even intervene if you aren’t wearing your seatbelt or happen to be tailgating. I told you. Just like your creepy ex-girlfriend.
While many employees feel as though high-tech monitoring is a violation of privacy, some employers claim that tracking and monitoring actually increases workplace safety and productivity, and helps to “investigate harassment or discrimination claims” — so, really, it’s for our own good.
The bigger issue, however, is that your boss also doesn’t have to tell you they are monitoring you. There are currently no federal statutes that restrict your employer from monitoring you or, except in Delaware or Connecticut, disclose that they are monitoring you. Those of us not in Delaware or Connecticut could be monitored at any time and not even know it. Either way, it’s always best to refrain from sexting on work phones, hanging out with the bros during work hours, or emailing anything we don’t want our bosses to know about, because if they provided the cellphone, there’s a good chance they will find out.
Tell Us What You Think
Do you think monitoring employees increases productivity? Do you, as an employee, have the right to know you are being monitored? Join the conversation on Twitter or in the comments section below.