This is being debated as a right to privacy versus working duty matter.
What people need to realize is that there isn’t really any such thing as privacy at the workplace, and nobody should expect it. That’s just part of work. We believe in transparency in government because it works for us, so why shouldn’t employers ensure transparency for the people who work for them.
In one of the comment sections for this topic, the first entry was “What will be next? Invasion of employees’ bedrooms?”
While Pierre Trudeau made that great quote about government and its role in civilians’ lives, this isn’t quite the same. Employers obviously shouldn’t have access to their employees’ bedrooms, unless those employees are making bedrooms out of their offices. A boss will almost definitely have a problem with an employee sleeping in his or her office.
When it’s at work, sleeping is the exact same as Internet usage. Sleeping at your desk wastes time in the same way surfing the web for personal business does.
The connected world we live in has created a lot of new distractions for everyone while they’re working. You don’t have to work in an office to have this problem. Someone at a construction zone with a cellphone has the same opportunity to browse.
In some jobs, there may be situations that would encourage browsing because employees need to be up-to-date on the latest information on particular subjects. The Internet is about getting information, and in some jobs that is necessary. Those situations may be more challenging to deal with when employees who should have access to the Internet take advantage of the freedom that privilege entails.
Some places block certain websites, but if Internet access is considered a right for all, then that’s kind of like depriving your employee of water. There has to be a middle ground somewhere.
Should employers be able to monitor employees’ Internet use?
I don’t have an issue with my employers checking up on my Internet use. After all, I’m only using the Internet to look up things for work. And check all my social media. And e-mails. And favourite websites, like cracked.com and just general horoscopes.
I know that in a lot of ways, that’s not the kind of Internet usage most employers like to see, but I think it’s realistic and I know I’m definitely not the only person who’s checking Facebook during work hours. Social media is actually a facet of my career, so visiting sites like Twitter actually make me a better journalist. The same excuse can’t really be used for Pinterest, but that’s not important ...
As long as employers are letting employees know that they will be monitoring their time spent online, I don’t see anything wrong with it. However, if bosses are sitting in their office secretly watching employees read their private e-mail, that’s not OK. Employees should know that they’re being monitored, so they can make the informed decision about whether or not to cruise the ’net during work hours.
Employers should also mention to employees when their web time is inappropriate. If I’m spending too much time pinning designs for my future house, my boss should let me know, so I can knock it off. I’m sure I’m not the only person who would rather be politely told that I need to spend less time surfing and more time working.
At least for me, most things I Google can be passed off as research for future projects.