On the 3rd October, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) issued new guidance to ensure lawful monitoring in the workplace. 

Research commissioned by the ICO reveals that 70% of the public would find it intrusive to be monitored by an employer and almost one in five (19%) believe they have been monitored by an employer.

Of those who believe they have been monitored, monitoring timekeeping and access was the most common practice at 40%, followed by monitoring emails, files, calls or messages at 25%.

The new guidance provides clear information on how monitoring can be conducted lawfully and fairly, as well as opening trust and respect amongst employees.

To support the new guidance by the ICO, Vivek Dodd, compliance and workplace expert, and CEO of online compliance training service, Skillcast, has shared his advice on how businesses can be transparent about workplace monitoring.

Being transparent with your staff about monitoring is important for building trust and maintaining a positive work environment. By following these steps and being open and honest with your staff about monitoring practices, you can create an environment of trust and cooperation, where employees understand the need for monitoring and are comfortable with its implementation.

Vivek Dodd, compliance and workplace expert

  1. Establish clear policies and guidelines

Create a set of well-defined policies and guidelines that outline the reasons for monitoring and the types of monitoring that will occur. These policies should be easily accessible to all staff members.

  1. Communicate the purpose and necessity

Explain to your staff why monitoring is necessary. Ensure they understand that it’s not about invading their privacy but about ensuring compliance, security, and productivity. Be honest about the risks your organisation faces.

  1. Involve staff in the process

Whenever possible, involve your staff in discussions about monitoring procedures. Ask for their input and feedback. This can help create a sense of ownership and cooperation.

  1. Respect privacy and legal requirements

Make sure that your monitoring activities are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Be aware of privacy laws like GDPR, and ensure your monitoring practices don’t violate these rules.

  1. Explain how data will be used

Let your staff know how the data collected through monitoring will be used. Will it be used for performance evaluations, security purposes, or something else? This can alleviate concerns about misuse.

  1. Establish consequences for policy violations

Clearly outline the consequences of policy violations and consistently enforce them. Staff should know the potential outcomes if they breach the monitoring policies.

  1. Respect employee rights:

Remind employees that they have the right to express concerns or request clarification about the monitoring process as the ‘data subject’. Let them know who to contact should they wish to access the data collected (this is usually your data protection officer).

  1. Seek legal counsel

If you’re unsure whether your monitoring practices are compliant, consult with legal experts to ensure that your monitoring practices are compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. Legal advice can help you navigate the complexities of data privacy and employment laws.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.