Monitoring employees in the workplace has become a truly common thing everywhere in the world. But, India remains one of the biggest markets for computer monitoring software, largely due to the high number of BPO (business process outsourcing) companies which are located here.

According to some reports, BPOs have been constantly reporting data breaches, in percentages which are way higher compared to the rest of the world. Today we’ll explore why India is such a good market for employee monitoring tools, as well as how legal it is.

Why Are These Tools Becoming a Necessity?

Numbers say that about 30-40% of employees’ web browsing is non-work related. Employees are visiting social media, news sites, chatting with their friends or doing online shopping during work hours. The conclusion is that about 2.5 hours of employees’ workday are spent like this (in an 8-hour workday), and if you’re paying employees 1200 INR per hour, you’re losing 15000 INR per week per employee! Add to that 100+ employees and a whole year, and these are some major losses.

On the other hand there is an issue of data breaches. Loss of confidential information is extremely costly for companies of all sizes, thus every company must find a way to protect this information.

By using one of the employee monitoring methods, the companies are increasing productivity, while protecting their data at the same time. And the employers aren’t the only party gaining from this. Benefits employees are getting are numerous. However, many workers are afraid such tools affect privacy in a negative way, and are wondering whether it’s even legal.

Is It Legal? And to What Extent?

Indian Employment and Labour Law allows employers to monitor activities, including systems, premises, company emails, SIM cards, headsets and computers. This can be justified as a way to protect confidential company information.

Although the law doesn’t require it, employers are advised to obtain consent from their employees before monitoring anything. Additionally, companies should create policies which describe these practices in detail. Besides monitoring policies, companies should go a step further and create policies relating to proper use of company’s computers as well as networks. These policies should include information about the consequences of not following the guidelines listed within them. Another policy employers must have is about usage and transmission of sensitive data. This policy should describe how the data should be used, and the data processor must obtain a consent if they intend to use the data in any way that wasn’t originally described in the policy.

Employee monitoring that is carried outside of the company’s grounds is generally considered as a violation of privacy, and the organizations must have stable grounds to justify it.

On the other hand, the number of employees working on their personal devices is growing, therefore, companies must create new rules for these workers. Ideally, you can find software which employees can turn on and off, so they can protect their privacy.

Wrap Up

Your employees won’t be exactly thrilled when you announce that you’ll start using an employee monitoring software. However, we can advise you to stay transparent, in your policies as well as in your internal communication. Additionally, stay ethical in your practices, don’t peek into screenshots that caught someone’s social profiles, avoid using software which records the screen, and so on.

In the end, we would like to advise you to consult with a legal team before taking any steps towards monitoring – they will be able to give you the best, most accurate advice.