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Security cameras in the workplace: The pros and cons

The use of security cameras to monitor the activities taking place in the workplace is quite rampant in many business organisations. These types of cameras are used in places such as banks, manufacturing industries, retail stores for internal theft prevention or security.
There’s no doubt that this approach has proved effective in some places where it’s been used. However, some people find fault in it especially when it’s used to monitor employee activities.

Therefore, the need to examine the pros and cons of security cameras in the workplace is not misplaced. First, let’s examine the pros.

Pros:

It prevents theft

To say that some workers are mean is only stating the obvious. Although some of them claim that they steal due to the unfair treatment they receive from their employers. But this doesn’t erase the fact that stealing occurs.

As a result, employers often use security cameras for both indoor and outdoor surveillance. While this security measure could sometimes be breached - most times due to human compromise - it still works most of the time.

It improves employee attitude

Apart from serving security purposes, surveillance helps to straighten employee attitude and to keep them upright. Some of the pertinent issues that plague many workplace settings are workplace harassment and violence.

According to a BBC survey, a little above half of women do experience workplace harassment. This includes sexual advances, unwanted touching, unwelcome jokes, and chauvinistic expressions.

While any of these acts could go unnoticed outside the workplace, chances are high that surveillance cameras would capture them effectively.

Cons:

Infringement on privacy

If there’s one thing employees would love to have, it’s workplace privacy. Unfortunately, this isn’t guaranteed where there are surveillance cameras. However, cameras are not installed in toilets and locker rooms where they may seem too intruding.

Although there are laws on the restriction or use of surveillance gadgets in the workplace, the nature of a business ultimately determines where and when it would be used. However, employees prefer to work in places without any form of monitoring whether in person or electronically.

It reduces workplace productivity

We might argue that security cameras help employees to stay focused on their jobs but the truth of the matter is that more employees think that the use of cameras is tantamount to micromanaging their affairs. They feel that it reduces their productivity level since almost everyone works under the fear of not wanting to be caught off guard, and not out of the genuine sense of responsibility.

Although, employees could be seen at their duty posts all day long, this system might not bring out the best in them in the least.

Conclusion

When addressing a sensitive issue like this, it’s always good to take a holistic approach. From the employers’ point of view, the use of security cameras is a welcome idea. This is because it helps to reduce theft, increase revenue, reduce security threat, and keeps employees firm and upright.

On the other hand, many employees feel that it doesn’t bring out the best in them because of the fear factor. Also, most employees prefer surveillance free workplace for reasons bothering on privacy.

14 Dec 2016 14:59

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