The use of spy or surveillance camera (also known as CCTV) in workplaces is now becoming a norm. A business owner can rely on the electronic eye to be abreast of the office situation. But how far can one go with the use of CCTV? Are there ethical and legal boundaries in using CCTV?
Safer Work Environment
Installing CCTV in places of employment provides employees with sense of security especially in high-risk establishments like convenience stores or jewelry shop. Robbers are more likely to think twice before hitting a store with CCTV for the fear of getting caught on tape.
CCTV can also help in improving employees’ performance particularly in customer-facing businesses. Knowing that there’s an “eye” that is constantly looking over them will deter customer mistreatment by workers. Footages can also be used to coach employees on how to mingle with customers as the images will show how a worker relates with a customer.
As sexual harassment is one big concern that employers face, installing a CCTV camera in business premises will deter inappropriate behavior of an employee towards a co-worker. Company owners can actually be sued for tolerating such behavior if the company does not put any deterrent measures against such misconduct.
The biggest benefit probably of CCTV in a workplace is prevention of office theft. In the US, it estimated that employee theft has cost companies 20 to 40 billion dollars a year. For a small business owner, theft of office supplies will be hard on the budget.
The Negative Effects of CCTV in Offices
Although CCTVs are installed with no malice intent, it can somehow foster a sense of distrust between the employer and the employees. This is crucial in work environment where everyone depends on each other. A spying eye prevents spontaneity that can be misconstrued for something negative. In a work environment where creativity is needed, a spy camera is a stumbling block to productivity.
The biggest obstacle of using CCTV in a workplace is its legality. Employees are still protected by law when it comes to privacy. Business owners are not allowed to install cameras in areas where employee privacy will be breached, like restrooms, locker rooms, and employee lounge. As such, it is very important for an employer to know the legal boundaries of installing CCTV surveillance equipment in the workplace.
Using CCTV in an office environment has its pros and cons. It is crucial for a business owner to evaluate first the benefits and disadvantages of using spy cam in his business. It is a costly investment and one has to make sure that CCTV will add value to the workplace rather than become a hindrance to business growth.
If CCTV is really needed in your business, make sure that you have consulted legal experts to determine your boundaries. Security companies can also provide you with inputs on how to make CCTVs less obtrusive in the workplace. As much as you care for your business, it is also equally important that you put premium to your employees’ sense of belonging to foster more productivity.