Recently while watching the news, I saw the story about the married Louisiana Representative who got caught on camera passionately kissing one of his staffers while leaving his congressional office one evening. I found it a little comical that he got busted on a security camera that was in his office, but that’s another discussion. This story came on the heels of an April Fool’s e-mail (from my own company’s IT Director) stating that our IT Department was going to enhance their support capabilities by being able to “dial in” to our field laptops and smart phones to address problems we are having. This new system would also allow our IT folks to remote view the cameras and listen to the microphones on our devices so we could interact with them face-to-face while they were logged in fixing our problem. Our IT Department was going to be able to do WHAT? Oh wait, April Fool’s….I get it. I must admit, this e-mail from IT came out at 7:30 am, so it took me awhile to “get it”.
Privacy in the workplace is an ever-growing issue and one that will always exist as long as we have technology, snoops, and eavesdroppers. Between e-mail monitoring, website monitoring, phone call monitoring, computer keystroke monitoring, security camera monitoring, name badge tracking systems, etc., the issue of workforce privacy has become a major issue and a controversial one in the HR world. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the employer and the employee when it comes to monitoring. However, I think that HR has to walk a fine line when it comes to employee privacy. As an HR practitioner, I can definitely see both sides.
Who knows what the future holds as far as workplace privacy, but here is something I envision. We’ve all heard of the new Smartglasses. These Smartglasses will be the gateway for anything that happens in our office. Without using security cameras, we will see the person who flips the bird behind someone’s back. We will see the people who take the office supplies and toilet paper home. We will see the person who keeps stealing Mary’s lunch from the fridge. We will see these people through their eyes and ears because our IT department will be “dialed in”. Interesting vision, I think. For now though, just be mindful of who you plant a big one on in your office…especially if you know that little brother is most definitely watching.
About the Mouth
Shannon Lands, SPHR is the Human Resources Manager for Saltmarsh, Cleaveland & Gund, a large regional public accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Pensacola, with three other offices across the state of Florida. She is a human resources generalist with over 20 years of experience focusing most of her time in client consulting, recruiting, human capital management and development, salary and benefits administration and employee relations. An active volunteer, Shannon currently serves as Vice President for the HR Florida State Council and previously served as treasurer, secretary and district director for HR Florida, in addition to serving as the 2005 president of Greater Pensacola SHRM. Additionally, she is a past board member of the United Way of Escambia County, serving as the Funds Distribution Co-Chair, Funds Distribution Chair, and as a member of the HR Committee. Shannon is also designated as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).