How To Know if Employees Use Work Devices for Personal Use
If you manage a small business, you must monitor what your employees are doing on their work computers to prevent time theft and data leakage risk. But how can you do this?
You can find out whether your employees are using work devices for personal use by installing desktop monitoring software, using a workplace collaboration tool, making a business email for your employees, or asking the IT department to keep checks on the sites accessed through the business’ wi-fi.
If you want to learn more about these techniques for monitoring employees and find out which might be right for your business, keep reading! This is exactly what we will discuss in today’s article.
1. Install Desktop Monitoring Software on Your Business’ Devices
Desktop monitoring devices are a game changer for employers and managers who want to monitor their workers’ activity on company devices.
This is, by far, the most effective way of finding out what employees are up to on business computers because it provides them with several different options to monitor their employees.
What are these features? Well, that will depend on which desktop monitoring software you opt for and your subscription plan. But here is a list of some examples of the kind of data you can track through these:
- You can track all keystrokes on your business computer, meaning you’ll be able to find out what your employees are typing.
- You will be able to see when your employees are online and when they’re inactive.
- You can track employees’ social media usage during work hours.
- You will be able to track the social media activities of your employees, even if they log in from their private accounts.
- You can see the exact contents of your employees’ screens in live time either through screenshots automatically taken by the software or through a discretely recorded life broadcast of your employees’ screens.
Now there are a ton of good desktop monitoring software out there you can choose from, but to save you the trouble of research, here’s one that I recommend you check out:
Wolfeye Remote Screen
Wolfeye remote screen is a desktop monitoring software designed specifically for small business owners who want to monitor their employees’ use of business computers and parents who want to keep tabs on their children’s home computers.
Since this software is positioned to be used by small business owners and households, it is also much more budget-friendly than other software; you can get a 1-year subscription for just $97 per PC.
What do you get in return? Well, you can fully access almost any activity that takes place on your business computer through the incredible range of features Wolfeye offers.
Its most notable features are:
- Live PC Screen Monitoring – You can see everything happening on your business computer’s screen in live time.
- Screenshots & Visited Websites – Wolfeye will periodically send you screenshots of the computer’s screen and record a list of every website visited.
- Undetectable Presence – Wolfeye starts up automatically and invisibly each time the target PC starts up.
- Remote Surveillance – You can see what’s happening on company devices, even if they’re not being used within company premises.
2. Get Employees To Work On Workspace Collaboration Tool
Another great way to keep a closer eye on your employees’ activities is by shifting all internal communications (and applicable assignments) to any popular workspace collaboration tool. Examples of such tools include Slack, ClickUp, Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams, Asana, and more.
As an employer, you usually have the right to contact these collaboration businesses and extract your business’ chats and data. Typically, you will only be allowed to do this if you have the following:
- The correct plan for your workspace collaboration tool, and
- The approval or authorization of the collaboration company that owns that collaboration tool to extract your employees’ data.
Will this data be of any use to you? Well, yes and no. You see, when you extract the chats and analytics of your employees from your company-run collaboration tool, you get access to a tonne of data.
Now, this data includes information that might be helpful for you, but it mostly includes noise. So, as an employer, it’s unlikely that you will find yourself regularly or frequently going through this data.
Still, this is a good option to have if you run a business and want to keep track of your employee’s progress and if you want to settle any disputes.
Two great workspaces where you can monitor such data include:
Slack is a digital workspace communication platform allowing businesses to choose their communication structure/ organization.
As a business owner/ manager, you can request a chat and other data analytics from slack, and (provided you’re subscribed to the “plus” plan) Slack will approve your request and send you this data.
Microsoft Teams is a business communication and collaboration space. Using Teams, you can access your employees’ data through eDiscovery- a search tool that allows them to surf through private chats and emails in Teams. However, you must first get approved and cleared for legal compliance to access this feature.
3. Create Business Emails for Your Employees
As an employer, you have complete access to all emails employees send or receive on their business email. So, creating business emails for each employee might be a great idea if you want to monitor what emails they’re sending to or receiving from internal or external parties.
It doesn’t stop here. As an employer, you also can go for keylogger software that makes copies of all emails sent and received through the business email and any draft emails your employees may have created but never sent.
However, it is important to note that being this intrusive will likely strain your relationship with your employees.
Employee privacy is important, but if you feel the need to access their emails, ensure you are completely transparent with your employees about it, and ensure you give them the option to send private emails by getting them marked “confidential.”
How useful will these email messages be to you? Well, regarding day-to-day monitoring of employees’ activities, not much. It’s impractical to go through each email every employee in your organization sends or receives daily.
However, when it comes to resolving conflicts, searching through these emails might help resolve issues.
4. You Can Monitor Sites Your Employees Access Through the Company’s Network
Whether your employees are on their personal devices or work devices, if they’re connected to the company’s wi-fi network, your company will have access to every website your employees search on the internet.
You may not be able to see what your employees do on this website, but this will at least tell you whether your employees are searching up work-related content on the internet or using their office hours to shop online.
To sum up, monitoring employees’ use of work devices is important to:
- Ensure that employees are not using business time and resources for their personal matters.
- Ensure that the business data stays protected and that no employee intentionally or unintentionally leaks any information to outside parties.
That said, employers can generally monitor employees’ activity on work devices in four ways. These are:
- Desktop monitoring devices
- Company-run workspace collaboration tools
- Business emails
- Company wi-fi
You may use any one of these solutions (or a combination of them or all of them at once) to monitor your employees, but ensure that you know how to filter out “noise data.”