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Monitoring employees̢۪ calls: Are businesses right to exercise this much control?

Published on 17 June 14
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For the employers, there is no bigger concern than the well-being of their business. In order to shield the latter from potential threats, they are often compelled to take difficult and unpopular decisions. One such decision is the installation of monitoring apps in company-owned cell phones for the purpose of monitoring employeesâ calls during work hours. Irrespective of the scale of the business, an employer may have several legitimate reasons to keep tabs on the employeesâ calls. The privacy advocates may scorn at this suggestion, but even they would find it hard to disagree with the fact that the abuse of cell phone privileges is not uncommon in workplaces.


Too much at stake


Aside from being a legal requirement, protection of reasonable business interests is the biggest motivation for an employer to venture into the gray area of employee monitoring. In an ideal world, the employee is perfectly honest, loyal to their company and job, sticks to the stand operating procedures (SOP), and never tries to bend the rules. While it over be an over-exaggeration of the risk to assume that every employee is guilty of one of more of the aforementioned infractions, the risk continues to loom over the company.


By monitoring their employeesâ calls, the employer can ensure that they are not leaking any confidential information to the person on the other side of the conversation. This is particularly important in case of a small business because it normally finds itself surrounded by sharks who wouldnât think twice to squash it the moment they sense itâs becoming a threat for them.


Aside from protecting the sensitive information of the company, the company is also able to ensure that the phone privilege is not having a negative impact on the employeeâs productivity. If too much time is being spent on personal calls, the employer would get to know of it immediately and take the necessary action to discourage this behavior.


Monitoring business calls is also a must for small businesses because they are looking to build relationships. The company needs to keep an eye, or an ear to be more accurate, on how the employees are dealing with the clients and if they are sticking to the best practices.


The adverse effects of call monitoring


Of course, the employees would rarely be thrilled to find out the company would be intercepting their calls during work hours. For many of them, it means virtually zero privacy while at work. This can affect their morale and create an atmosphere of bitterness and distrust. In some cases, the failure to respect employeeâs reasonable expectations of privacy may land the company into legal trouble.


Getting the most out of the policy


There is indeed much more to gain than lose for small business by monitoring their employeesâ calls, on company-owned phones of course. However, the disadvantages are potent enough to have a significantly destructive impact on the day-to-day operations of the business and the overall work atmosphere. Therefore, an employer must ensure that the monitoring is done as ethically as possible, so as to reduce the grievances of their employees. One way to do that is determine what constitute reasonable business concerns and only focus on them, while leaving things such as the employeesâ personal calls out of scope of monitoring. Furthermore, the employees should be notified of the monitoring policy beforehand, while also explaining to them why such a policy has been put in place. Another thing that the employer must ensure is the confidentiality of monitored information. They must ensure that the records are not shared with anyone and discarded after a specific period.


Businesses donât have too many options with them when it comes to protecting themselves against recognized threats. What they do have is the ability to ensure that they remain sincere to their primary motive, which is to safeguard their legitimate concerns, instead of prying into the personal communications and hence lives of its employees.











For the employers, there is no bigger concern than the well-being of their business. In order to shield the latter from potential threats, they are often compelled to take difficult and unpopular decisions. One such decision is the installation of monitoring apps in company-owned cell phones for the purpose of monitoring employeesâ calls during work hours. Irrespective of the scale of the business, an employer may have several legitimate reasons to keep tabs on the employeesâ calls. The privacy advocates may scorn at this suggestion, but even they would find it hard to disagree with the fact that the abuse of cell phone privileges is not uncommon in workplaces.

Too much at stake

Aside from being a legal requirement, protection of reasonable business interests is the biggest motivation for an employer to venture into the gray area of employee monitoring. In an ideal world, the employee is perfectly honest, loyal to their company and job, sticks to the stand operating procedures (SOP), and never tries to bend the rules. While it over be an over-exaggeration of the risk to assume that every employee is guilty of one of more of the aforementioned infractions, the risk continues to loom over the company.

By monitoring their employeesâ calls, the employer can ensure that they are not leaking any confidential information to the person on the other side of the conversation. This is particularly important in case of a small business because it normally finds itself surrounded by sharks who wouldnât think twice to squash it the moment they sense itâs becoming a threat for them.

Aside from protecting the sensitive information of the company, the company is also able to ensure that the phone privilege is not having a negative impact on the employeeâs productivity. If too much time is being spent on personal calls, the employer would get to know of it immediately and take the necessary action to discourage this behavior.

Monitoring business calls is also a must for small businesses because they are looking to build relationships. The company needs to keep an eye, or an ear to be more accurate, on how the employees are dealing with the clients and if they are sticking to the best practices.



The adverse effects of call monitoring

Of course, the employees would rarely be thrilled to find out the company would be intercepting their calls during work hours. For many of them, it means virtually zero privacy while at work. This can affect their morale and create an atmosphere of bitterness and distrust. In some cases, the failure to respect employeeâs reasonable expectations of privacy may land the company into legal trouble.



Getting the most out of the policy

There is indeed much more to gain than lose for small business by monitoring their employeesâ calls, on company-owned phones of course. However, the disadvantages are potent enough to have a significantly destructive impact on the day-to-day operations of the business and the overall work atmosphere. Therefore, an employer must ensure that the monitoring is done as ethically as possible, so as to reduce the grievances of their employees. One way to do that is determine what constitute reasonable business concerns and only focus on them, while leaving things such as the employeesâ personal calls out of scope of monitoring. Furthermore, the employees should be notified of the monitoring policy beforehand, while also explaining to them why such a policy has been put in place. Another thing that the employer must ensure is the confidentiality of monitored information. They must ensure that the records are not shared with anyone and discarded after a specific period.

Businesses donât have too many options with them when it comes to protecting themselves against recognized threats. What they do have is the ability to ensure that they remain sincere to their primary motive, which is to safeguard their legitimate concerns, instead of prying into the personal communications and hence lives of its employees.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations Community

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