January 29th, 2002, 03:53 PM
Email monitoring in the workplace
OK, well I got this boring assignment about ethics in IT - you know the stuff - all very exciting...not. Anyways, it kinda got me thinking. Our topic is about whether or not it is right to monitor employee emails to see whether they are using it for work-purposes or if they are using it for personal reasons.
You may think that this is very similar to that CARNIVORE thread that was floating around, and still is, but it isn't. I was totally for that carnivore program, but this is completely different. It may be 'monitoring email', but think about it - one is to see if you are basically a terrorist and the other is simply to see whether you are doing your job.
Now that this is all clear, I will point out my opinion. I believe that it is simply wrong! Monitoring employee's emails will not benefit anyone in the long run. Firstly, they are trying to see if workers are 'wasting time' using email for non-work related purposes. Isn't monitoring of these emails 'wasting time' too?? Who is going to monitor the emails? The boss? Surely he has enough on his plate.
Secondly, it makes workplace environment feel threatening to the employee. If you know that the company you are working for is monitoring your email, everytime you send one you will be thinking about this and wondering 'should I send this'? It creates a burdon on the employee and reduces job satisfaction, thus, affecting proctuctivity in a negative way.
Also, say you want to simply send a message that says,
'Pete, I asked Jenny and she said she'll be right for Saturday - it's on, the Dolphin's will slaughter the King's - you got no hope of winning!! See ya then'.
Surely this message will have taken less then 2 minutes to write. What is wrong with that? The employee will be thinking, 'can I send this?' and will have all these worries which really do not need to be there. If they send it, they will be satisfied and get on with their job feeling better, as they have communicated with their friend and not worrying about 'how am I going to tell him?'
If I were a manager/boss at a company, I would simply expect my employees to do their job. If the job gets done, what does it matter if they sent 10 personal emails during the day. What if John got the job done and sent 10 personal emails. Sally isn't performing well, but she doesn't send email. What will the purpose of email scanning echieve in this situation?? The more personal emails you send, the better the job you do will be??
Again, I believe email monitoring in the workplace is totally useless and should not be the measure of 'how well an employee works'. It is a great distraction to the employee and a waste of time for the boss.
Please post your opinions up, I would like to know how you all feel about this topic. If you get negative antipoints for simply stating what you believe, forget about it - I know how you feel, I get em sometimes too. The people who dish them out have to seriously take a look at themselves cos they have very little brain matter.
\"Do you know what people are most afraid of?
What they don\'t understand.
When we don\'t understand, we turn to our assumptions.\"
-- William Forrester