Imagine you own a business. Now imagine that same business, but instead of monitoring employee internet usage, you’re now monitoring their every move, including phone calls and text messages. And not just monitoring, but also recording and storing this data. For many businesses, this would be considered a massive invasion of privacy. But for some businesses, this is standard operating procedure.
Businesses have been collecting data on employee internet usage for years. It’s a way to monitor productivity and make sure employees are using company resources for work-related purposes. But with the rise of BYOD (bring your own device) policies, many companies are now extending their monitoring to include employee mobile devices. And not just company-issued phones, but personal phones as well.
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the primary way people access the internet. In fact, according to a recent survey by Clutch, a leading research and advisory firm, 64% of employees say they use their personal smartphones for work purposes. And with the rise of BYOD policies, that number is only going to increase
But should businesses be monitoring their employee’s mobile devices? After all, most people consider their phones to be personal devices, and an extension of their privacy. No one wants their boss listening in on their phone calls or reading their text messages. So what’s the justification for extending workplace monitoring to mobile devices?
There are a few justification for it
1) Mobile devices are increasingly being used for work purposes. As more and more employees use their personal smartphones for work tasks (checking email, accessing company data, etc.), it only makes sense for businesses to want to monitor and manage this usage
2) Businesses want to protect company data. With the rise of BYOD policies, businesses are worried about sensitive company data leaking onto employee’s personal devices
3) By extension, businesses want to protect themselves from potential liability issues. If an employee uses their personal phone for work tasks and something happens (e.g., they lose the phone or it’s stolen), the business could be held liable
4) Some employers simply don’t trust their employees. They see mobile device monitoring as a way to keep tabs on employees and make sure they’re not slacking off or engaging in activities that could harm the business (e.g., viewing inappropriate website content)
5) And finally, there’s the argument that employees should have no expectation of privacy at work. After all, if an employer is providing the device (or paying for the service), then they should have a right to monitor its usage
Do you think businesses should be monitoring employee mobile device usage? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!