It’s far from unusual these days for companies to install CCTV in the workplace both inside and outside their premises. Thanks to huge advances in CCTV technology over the last decade or so, doing so has become both easier and more affordable. But there is one aspect of making such a move that often causes employers great concern as they consider doing so; what their employees will think.
Why Employees Balk at CCTV in the Workplace
In many ways CCTV is becoming a part of everyday life. You expect that when you go to the gas station, the supermarket and even when you use an ATM you are being videotaped. In communities around the country city and town officials are following the European lead and adding CCTV surveillance to parks, community centers and even to the streets in general.
There are many legitimate, sensible and valid reasons for doing so and most people understand that. But when it comes to being monitored by CCTV in the workplace? This is where some people begin to ‘draw the line’.
Some of people’s fears about video surveillance at work are, unfortunately, fueled by the popular media. There have been a number of stories about employers who overstepped the mark and used their CCTV system in unethical and sometimes criminal ways. Such things are actually rather uncommon, but the media does not always portray this.
Another big reason that some employees dislike the idea of being monitored while they work is a feeling that by doing so their employer is indicating that they believe that their workforce is untrustworthy, something that admittedly can be an unpleasant thought for a loyal, hardworking person who feels like they give the company their all.
And finally, there is a simple, basic dislike of being ‘spied on’. Some people feel that this will add additional pressure on them to ‘perform’ in a certain way and others simply don’t like being watched.
Talking to Your Employees about CCTV
The best way to deal with these possible concerns is to face them head on before the installation company arrives to get to work. By calling a meeting – preferably a somewhat informal and relaxed one, maybe over breakfast or lunch, and opening up a sensible conversation about CCTV in the workplace will often help allay employee fears and concerns.
Take the time to point out all the positives of the idea. CCTV footage can be used to resolve disputes, to deter visitors to the premises from behaving inappropriately and, especially in the case of outdoor cameras trained on a parking lot, help keep employees safer. After all, it’s not exactly uncommon for you to feel a little nervous walking to your car at the end of the day, even if you are at a place as familiar as your company parking lot.
Another way to reassure employees is to be very clear about how the footage from CCTV will be utilized and what the consequences would be if the footage were to be misused. Formulate a clear policy that employees can read, understand and feel comfortable with. Employees who can see that there is a real need for these types of systems are more likely to accept the idea.
In case any of your employees still have concerns after your talking to them, make sure they know they can address their concerns with you when they need to. Workplaces that maintain a more open attitude have happier employees in general and if it’s used in an honest a responsible manner CCTV can truly benefit a business, and its employees and when it is properly addressed most employees do come to realize that.