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Employee Monitoring Ethics: 3 Key Facts About Workplace Surveillance

employee monitoring ethics

When it comes to workplace-surveillance ethics, it’s no secret that employers like time tracking because it fosters accountability. 

But what are the employee-monitoring ethics when it comes to time tracking? Does having accountability checks in place make people more ethical? And how can you help when asked what can employees do to be ethical? 

3 key facts to know about workplace-surveillance ethics

FACT #1: Trust is crucial to workplace success

If you’ve ever worked in a low-trust environment, you know how demoralizing it can be. If managers are unsure whether an employee is working the hours they say they are, or if employees suspect managers aren’t being required to work as many hours as everyone else, it’s hard to build trust. Tension builds, and morale and productivity suffer. 

Conversely, studies show that coworkers who trust each other are happier and more efficient during office hours. Those employees tend to:

  • Take fewer days off for illness.
  • Be less stressed, more satisfied and more engaged with their jobs.
  • Make more money than people who don’t.

How do you foster that trust? One proven way is time tracking. Studies show that solutions like Time Tracker can reduce productivity leaks up to 80% by:

  • Standardizing the way everyone at a company tracks time. 
  • Streamlining paid and unpaid time-off requests, which can all be done online.
  • Allowing managers to edit or approve time for one or all employees in seconds to get people paid faster. 

Bonus: Most CEOs believe a lack of trust in the workplace is a fundamental threat to their business, so building trust in the workplace is time well spent. 

FACT #2: Tracking and transparency must apply to all employees and all practices

When considering what employees can do to be ethical, a top-down approach works because it reinforces the fact that everyone, from customer service reps to the C-suite, is being held to the same standard. And there’s another way to reinforce that trust: Show your team that you offer that same transparency to clients.  

Take a cue from the legal profession, where workplace-surveillance ethics are a top priority, especially when it comes to client billing. Billing must be correct to be ethical, says the American Bar Association (ABA), and “accurate billing is best achieved by contemporaneous timekeeping.” That means the ABA considers time tracking highly ethical. Why does that matter to your business? Even if you’re not in a legal field, this shows that an organization solely dedicated to ethics deems time tracking a key part of running a business with integrity. 

Reiterate to employees that one reason you track time is to ensure clients are getting their money’s worth. That knowledge will empower employees, giving them peace of mind, a sense of purpose and another way to take action when they are wondering what they can do to be ethical.  

FACT #3: Ethical companies can offer more freedom

If you had to choose one, would you rather have more flexibility or more money? A 2014 study asked that question, and 64% of employees said they’d choose added flexibility over a 10% raise. That shows how important work-life balance has become, especially in times where flexibility is more necessity than perk. 

But you can only offer freedom when concerns of employee-monitoring ethics aren’t running rampant. Once you implement a solution like Time Tracker, you can allow employees to:

  • Shift work schedules to accommodate doctor appointments, errands or emergencies without losing hours.
  • Take breaks when they need to without worrying they’ll appear unresponsive.
  • See how many hours they’ve clocked for a specific work period so they — and their manager — know exactly where they stand. 

Employees get an increased sense of control, and managers get the ability to track employee hours remotely, avoid unnecessary overtime and approve payments swiftly. 

Try Time Tracker

Ready to see how you can tackle your concerns about employee-monitoring ethics? Try our free, 14-day trial.