Staff security and monitoring employees

Staff monitoring: reasons and methods


What is employee monitoring?

Employee monitoring or staff monitoring is the use of various workplace surveillance methods to gather information on the activities and location of your staff. There may be a number of reasons why employers may choose to monitor employees such as safeguarding staff, protecting resources or improving productivity.

Why monitor staff?

You might want to monitor your staff to:

  • check the quality of customer service
  • find out if staff require training by observing their performance
  • review staff skills and competencies used in their job
  • ensure the safety of all workers
  • observe the application of health and safety rules
  • ensure compliance with the law or an internal employment policy, eg on email and internet usage
  • confirm any fraudulent, criminal or otherwise illegal or undesirable conduct by your staff that you suspect
  • check whether your workers are entitled - or continue to be entitled - to work in the UK and undertake the work in question - see ensure your workers are eligible to work in the UK

Employee monitoring methods

Employee monitoring can include:

  • recording staff activities by CCTV cameras
  • keeping recordings of telephone calls, eg in a call centre
  • opening staff emails or listening to voicemails
  • checking logs of telephone numbers called
  • examining logs of websites visited
  • searching staff, their personal space and work areas
  • installing tracking equipment in vehicles
  • making and storing copies of documents that include personal information and those that demonstrate that the worker is - or continues to be - entitled to work in the UK and undertake the work in question - see ensure your workers are eligible to work in the UK
  • checking internal and external candidate CVs and application forms during the recruitment and selection processes

Employee monitoring: the legal requirements

The law recognises several reasons why an employer might want to monitor staff and sets out principles for carrying out such monitoring. The principle of purpose limitation is very important to ensure privacy. The results of any employee monitoring must be used solely for the purpose for which they are obtained. To ensure any employee monitoring you carry out is lawful and proper see monitor staff correctly and lawfully.

See the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidance on the Data Protection Act 2018.