How would you like for your boss to review your internet browsing history, or peruse your last year’s worth of emails?
Sounds like a nightmare, right? According to data collected by Blind, a workplace communication app, corporate digital snooping is more widespread than you might’ve imagined. It all depends on where you work—and how nosy your bosses want to be.
Blind recently surveyed more than 6,700 tech workers, asking for a true-or-false response to the statement: “My company goes to unreasonable lengths to monitor employees.” More than one-quarter of respondents answered “true.”
What can employees do about this digital meddling, you ask? Rules and regulations vary by state, so it’s important to know your rights. However, the law often leans in favor of employers, so it’s wise to err on the side of not doing anything even remotely questionable on your company computer.
According to The National Workrights Institute, two-thirds of U.S. workplaces now use some form of electronic monitoring, despite the potential adverse effects that digital surveillance can have on productivity and morale.
Tight surveillance can even cause health problems for those worried about being watched. A University of Wisconsin-Madison study found:
Higher levels of stress in monitored employees resulted in an increase in somatic complaints, including a 27 percent increase in occurrences of pain or stiffness in shoulders, a 23 percent increase in occurrences of neck pressure and a 21 percent increase in back pain experienced by employees. Other complaints among monitored employees included a rise in cases of extreme anxiety, severe fatigue or exhaustion, a loss of feeling in the fingers/wrists, shoulder soreness and depression.
The lesson here: Your company is probably keeping tabs on how you spend company time online. Good thing you have nothing to hide, right?
Read more about Blind’s findings here.