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Ania W.


Do you think it is appropriate for your employer to monitor the web sites you visit?

Senior Editor, Branded Lines, HBR Press at Harvard Business Review Top Contributor

What information is your company gathering about you? Do you have access to their findings? What concerns do you have about your privacy at work? This HBR blog piece offers some interesting statistics about how we tend to think about workplace privacy--and reasons why that should change.

With social networking and other electronic communications making employees' actions and attitudes more visible than ever to employers, it's clear that a big change in the relationship between work and private life is well...

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  • December 28, 2012
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  • Dexter E.


    Dexter E.

    HR Consultant / MBA Lecturer / Motivational Author

    No; it's an invasion of privacy.....facilitated, unfortunately, by social media. Technology has great benefits but also comes with high costs...

  • KIRAN J.


    KIRAN J.

    Assistant Vice President and Branch Head at HDFC Bank.

    I feel employers have every right to have such restrictions and tracking mechanism as long as the employee is using the organisations infrastructure or he is providing information about the organisation. As a human being, every parent would like to keep a watch on their Kid, just to ensure that nothing goes wrong, similarly the organisation has every right to do what they are doing today. As for as the awareness about the policy is concerned, i would hold the employee responsible, as every responsible organisation has a policy and they do circulate emails with do's and donts about the company policy, seldom employees read such emails.

  • Conwyn F.


    Conwyn F.

    Cisco Network Manager Available for New Opportunities

    Shop workers have always been monitored on the checkout. Factory workers have always clocked in and out. Suddenly the same philosophy is applied to white collar workers and it is a cause for debate. The problem with Social Media and the world wide web is it can be useful so blocking www.linkedin.com might be harmful rather than productive (old folks remember IBM water cooler 1980's). If your staff find Facebook more interesting than the job then perhaps you need make the job more interesting.

  • Scott H.


    Scott H.

    eDiscovery Project Contract Attorney

    I respectfully disagree with Dexter...although employers may have a morally ambiguous argument in monitoring one's internet use at work, legally one has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his/her work computer which is used during working hours. I therefore think that an employer is wholly appropriate in monitoring the web sites which one visits while at work and "on the company dime."

  • Steven

    Steven K.

    Field Service Engineer at OCS Checkweighers Inc.

    I believe that a company with a written and understood policy (signed agreement) regarding the use of social media has every right to monitor internet usage on company provided equipment including smart phones, laptops, and desktops.
    This is an example of where employee training and proper on-boarding comes into play.

  • Cristina R.


    Cristina R.


    An employer should have a policy about social media and inform eployees about it. However, social media can also be a powerful business tool, especially for marketing, recruitment, and business development.

    Social media is neither good nor bad - it depends on how it is used. It can harm productivity or it can help productivity and collaboration between employees who communicate through organizational networks. A good source of information about it is the book "Wikinomics"

  • Chandrasoma

    Chandrasoma P.

    Head of Factory at Supreme Smart Wear Ltd of Adamji Export Processing Zone,

    It is not appropriate to monitor as employees are not children of larger growth as some employers seems to assume.

    The importance is the employees job performance and not what his personal preferences as long as his web site viewing activities doesn't affect his job performance.

    Through web indulgence he may be getting knowledge, social awareness and contacts, or business promotion etc or otherwise he has got some addition to the web. It can be either good or bad but it is employee himself who is the best judge whether it is for good or bad and not the employer.

    Of course, the employer can discuss with him if being glued to computer visiting website seems to affect the performance of the employee concerned and the business momentum of the organisation in a adversely desruptive manner.

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