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Ethically Enhancing Productivity Through Surveillance

Video surveillance and business security systems are prevent more than just shoplifting. Here's how to monitor and enhance employee...

Businesses use video surveillance systems for a lot more than catching shoplifters or reducing the time employees spend goofing off. "Employee monitoring is being used to increase customer satisfaction, improve employee performance, and enhance productivity," according to Kristin Morgan at St. Francis University.

Video surveillance and business security systems are now used for everything from measuring efficiency, to data security, to compliance with securities laws. The growth in employer surveillance systems is nothing less than stunning. Consider these numbers, from the American Management Association's Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance Report:

  • 82 percent of managers use some type of electronic monitoring in the workplace

  • One-third of all employees are under surveillance in the workplace

  • 63 percent of employers monitor employee Internet connections

  • 47 percent store and review employee e-mails

  • 36 percent review employee computer files

  • 15 percent use video to record employees on the job

  • 8 percent store and review of employee voicemail messages

Employers justify their monitoring of employee activities as essential to protect the organization from unwanted actions conducted over the employer's network. The responsibility to secure the network outweighs employees' expectations for privacy in the workplace. Balancing employee privacy and business needs is essential to developing an effective and defensible monitoring program.


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