Electronic surveillance of employees – pros and cons | SupportBiz

Human Resources

Electronic surveillance of employees – pros and cons

The electronic surveillance of a firm’s employees using CCTVs and spy cameras is an emerging concept in India. While it has its own benefits, the electronic surveillance of employees comes with a set of disadvantages as well.

 It is advisable that you, as a small business owner, thoroughly study both the pros and the cons, and decide whether it would be a good idea for your firm or not. SupportBiz sheds light on the positives and negatives of electronic employee surveillance.

The pros:

Monitoring employees

Electronic surveillance helps the employer monitor the employees, and know how exactly they spend their work day. This helps the employer gauge the productivity of each employee correctly, and to take decisions accordingly.

Moral check

When the employees know that they are being monitored, they focus their entire attention on work, and try to avoid distractions as much as possible. Electronic surveillance acts as a moral check on the employees, encouraging them to give their best to their work. Ultimately, it leads to an increase in employee productivity.

Helps prevent illegal work

Electronic surveillance helps the employer track any illegal work being indulged in by the employees. For instance, the employer can immediately know if any employee is spending undue amounts of time on social networking or personal work or accessing pornographic sites. The employer can then decide on the appropriate action to be taken against such employees.


Electronic surveillance equipment helps employees gather concrete evidence against employees indulging in indecent, unproductive or illegal activities. This evidence might come in handy in case of arguments with such an employee or a law suit.

The cons:

Nature of firm

Electronic surveillance might not be necessary for all kinds of firms. In a firm where most employees are mature and serious about their performance, it might not be required at all. However, in case of a firm where there is a high level of freedom afforded to the employees, or in an organisation where most of the staff is very young and inexperienced, it might be a good idea to implement electronic surveillance.

Might affect employee morale

The employees might feel that their employer does not trust them, if electronic surveillance is used. It might damage employer-employee relationships, cause a dent in the morale of the employees, and make them feel insecure.

Disrupts employee privacy

Electronic surveillance disturbs the privacy of employees. It interferes with their right to work at their own pace, guided by their own moral compass. Fosters mistrust Some organisations are committed to the development of trust between the employer and employees, and within the employees themselves. Electronic surveillance of employees can be detrimental in case of such organisations, by fostering an atmosphere of mistrust in the organisation.

Possibility of wrong judgement

An employee who spends part of his/her work time on social media or personal activities might not necessarily be unproductive. He/she might be balancing work commitments in other ways, which might not be clear to the employer at the first instance. Electronic surveillance creates the danger of such employees being misunderstood by the employers.