Chances are, your boss is keeping an eye on you. In fact, the American Management Association (AMA) reports that 43% of companies actively monitor employee emails and roughly the same number track the time you spend on the phone and who you call (16% go so far as to record those calls). Nearly half of companies say they use video to reduce theft and workplace sabotage.
Workplace monitoring is nothing new, of course. Bosses have probably been spying on employees for as long as they’ve been hiring people to work for them. But new technologies make it easier for companies to track their employees’ every move, while at the same time making it harder for workers to tell if they’re being watched.
From GPS tracking to checking your social media profiles, it’s not hard for a company to keep tabs on you. And, unless your boss tells you they’re spying, you may never know. (To be fair, the AMA reports that many companies do inform employees that they may be subject to monitoring.) This stealthy on-the-job surveillance is perfectly legal in most cases, which may come as a surprise to many people.
“Privacy in today’s workplace is largely illusory,” the AMA’s Ellen Bayer told The Week.
Not sure if your boss is using techniques to keep tabs on you? Here are four signs that you’re likely being watched at work.
1. You’re Secretly Planning to Quit & Your Boss Already Knows
More companies are mining big data to make predictions about which employees are likely to leave their job in the near future. And then there’s social media. If you’re connected to your boss on LinkedIn or have a public profile, they may get suspicious if your network suddenly starts to grow or you link up with recruiters or industry competitors. If your company is tracking the website you visit or logging keystrokes, you may also alert your boss to your on-the-clock job search.
2. You’re Called Out for a Conversation You Thought Was Private
If your boss reprimands you for a less-than-professional conversation or email exchange that you thought was private, there’s a chance you have a tattletale co-worker. But it’s also possible that your supervisor could be spying on you, perhaps by scanning your email, monitoring your phone conversations, or even looking at the text messages you send on a work-issued device. If they’re using a key-logging program or other monitoring software, they may even know what you’re saying in your personal emails sent on any company-owned devices.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your boss doesn’t care about your idle workplace gossip, either, whether in person or something shared digitally. Thoughtless emails can come back to haunt you.
“Employers own the content on their own internal email systems and have the right to monitor what you write and to whom,” Jennifer Lee Magas, an employment law attorney and vice president of Magas Media Consultants, LLC, told MainStreet.com.
3. Your Boss Knows What You Did This Weekend Before You Tell Him
Does your boss seem to know an awful lot about your personal life? They could be checking out your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media profiles, even if you haven’t added them to your network or given them your password (something that some employers really do ask for, though laws about that are changing). Looking at your public profiles is a bit creepy, but it’s not all that unusual. And people have been disciplined or fired after their employers stumbled upon inappropriate posts, photos and comments online.
4. There’s Some Suspicious Software on Your Devices
If your company’s IT department is monitoring your computer use, it’s not always going to be immediately obvious. However, you can poke around on your computer to see if there are any telltale signs of monitoring software (Online Tech Tips has some advice on how to do that, if you’re so inclined). The same goes for unusual apps installed on smartphones. But don’t be too quick to uninstall something that looks suspicious or your boss may fight back.
[Editor’s Note: You never know who may be looking at what you do online, whether it’s your boss or a hacker. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit for any signs of identity theft, like a sudden dip in your score or unfamiliar new accounts. You can see your free credit report summary, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.]
This article originally appeared on The Cheat Sheet.
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Image: Jen Grantham