A security camera installed outside of a work cubicle in a workplace

The Dos And Don’ts of Workplace Surveillance

When it comes to workplace surveillance, there are a lot of misconceptions floating about. Some people believe it to be a violation of personal privacy.

However, if you’re an employer here in the US, you need to know there are no laws stopping you from installing surveillance cameras in the workplace. Though, there are certain dos and don’ts you should follow to stay out of the line of fire, just in case.

DO: Make Sure Your Employees and Customers Are Aware of the Surveillance

As an employer, it’s your job to provide a safe workplace for your employees, and the security cameras you use may be part of the security you provide. However, your employees have a right to know that there are security cameras around.

Even when they’re placed in plain view, make sure that employees and customers are exclusively informed about their presence, either verbally or with signs or otherwise. Not only is this important ethically, but knowing there are cameras around can also help ensure everyone’s on their best behavior, even if that isn’t your primary intention for the cameras.  

DON’T: Use Workplace Surveillance to Spy on Your Employees

Employees having coffee and talking inside a workplace

Ideally, you shouldn’t use surveillance cameras to spy on your employees. That would be an invasion of privacy and extreme micromanagement, and it isn’t recommended, no matter the kind of business or industry you’re operating in. Assign tasks and give deadlines but trust your employees to accomplish everything at their own pace and in their own way.

Being monitored all the time can make employees feel cautious, and it can actually affect their confidence and productivity. So, place cameras carefully to ensure they’re not intruding on anyone’s privacy. Also, don’t use private interactions and conversations between employees against them. It’s your employees’ right to have privacy.

DO: Place Cameras in Common Areas

When you’re using cameras for internal surveillance, you should place them on entry and exit points, as well as other workspaces that employees use. For instance, if it’s an office floor with different workstations for each employee, you should place cameras that give you a view of the entire floor and all the workstations.

But common areas may also be spaces where employees spend their breaks. Generally, it’s a good idea to have CCTV cameras in such spaces to ensure the best possible conduct. For instance, employees could face harassment by other employees in these spaces, but having visible cameras could deter such situations. So, as long as employees are not changing clothes in these areas, it’s okay to place cameras here with their consent for their own safety.

DON’T: Place Cameras near Toilets, Changing Areas, and Staff Rooms

Of course, it goes without saying that the most significant tip for workplace surveillance is not placing any cameras in the bathrooms, changing areas, and other staff rooms where there could be privacy concerns for the employees.

The most you can do is place cameras right outside these areas to see who might be going in and out of these rooms.

A security camera mounted on a wall

DO: Clarify the Purpose of Surveillance to Employees

To create a healthy workspace, it’s important to have some level of trust and confidence between employers and employees. This is why you ideally wouldn’t want your employees to think that the security cameras are there to monitor them—this will make them think you don’t trust them.

When you install a surveillance system, have a conversation about it with employees and explain the purpose of the surveillance. The primary purpose will, of course, be everyone’s safety, but even if you are using the camera for employee surveillance, let them know that it’s to help you keep an eye on everything to see how working conditions can be improved for all employees. You can also point out that this will help you reward hardworking employees more effectively.

DON’T: Give Access to Surveillance Data Freely

Every employee doesn’t need access to surveillance data; don’t give open access. Make sure the surveillance data is only accessible to top management and those responsible for the workplace’s security, such as the head of security.

Also, make sure there’s backed-up data that only a few people know about. This can be very important if you need evidence of a crime and fear that the footage may have been removed accidentally or deliberately.

DO: Mention the Surveillance in Staff Contracts

If you already have a surveillance security systems in place and are hiring new employees, make sure the surveillance is mentioned in their staff contracts. This is a simple way to offer full disclosure and keep yourself out of any legal hurdles linked to workplace surveillance.

Once staff members sign their contracts, the common assumption here is that they’re aware of the surveillance and have consented to it. If an employee has objections to it, you can discuss alternatives with them.

DON’T: Place Exterior Cameras Pointing to Other Properties

A security camera installed outside of a building on a post

Your employees’ privacy isn’t the only thing you have to worry about; you must also think about your neighbors. Whether you have residential properties around your business or other businesses, make sure the exterior cameras you place on your property aren’t violating the privacy of others around your business.

Make sure the cameras you place only cover the perimeter of your business. If camera placement can’t be adjusted to ensure everyone’s privacy without compromising your own security, try and get written consent before you proceed toward installation.

DO: Invest in Professional Surveillance System Installations

Whether you’re installing a surveillance system at home or work, it’s never a good idea to dabble in DIY installations. Modern surveillance systems are incredibly sophisticated in the way they’re designed. Due to a lack of knowledge and experience, you could accidentally damage the system. Moreover, you can’t get the most out of a surveillance system without the right expertise.

Reliable security experts who’ve been installing security cameras for years know exactly how to avoid blind spots while getting the most out of your system.

If you want to really understand the difference between DIY and professional security camera installations, reach out to us at Max Video & Security and let us handle the security and surveillance solutions for your workplace. We have some of the best business security systems for workplaces and know exactly how to help you get the most out of them.

Give us a call to discuss it all further.