"Business is business. No one is happy if we don't make it out of the red . . ."

When it all comes down to it, a Business exists to make money. Maintaining a margin of profit is more vital to a company or corporation's existence than any other factor. Sure, the legality of the companies' actions and the well-being of its employees are very important as well, but in a free market economy such as the United States', if a company's not making money, it's not going to survive. It's as simple as that.

That's why monitoring in the workplace is so important. It's one advantage in a never-ending struggle to stay on top. If I hire someone to do a certain job, you better believe I'm going to do what I can to ensure that he or she does it. I don't want my employees using company property on company time for personal matters. That's not what they're here for. And if they are doing so, I want to know about it.

Of course, my employees could be doing far worse things than using my phones to dial long-distance friends. "The most common reasons given by employers for electronic monitoring," said one survey, included "investigation of industrial espionage" (2). If I don't protect my company secrets, they won't be secrets for long. It may not be in my best interest to treat "all employees like potential criminals", but many business owners feel that "they have no other choice in order to keep up with their competitors" (10).

Also, if my employees are making honest-to-God mistakes which they are unaware of, I want to be able to catch them before they hurt productivity too much. If employee performance can be monitored, I can find out where it needs to be improved.

And if improvement is indeed necessary, monitoring data is vital to appropriate training. If I know which areas a particular employee is lacking in, I can stress his or her training on those areas alone, saving time and headaches all around.

Finally, just as I want to know if an employees work could use some improvement, I'd like to be able to reward diligent workers for their efforts. Employee monitoring allows me to see the good things as well as the bad, and act accordingly to either. Sure, some people may think I'm a curmudgeon for monitoring them, but they're usually the ones who don't want me to see what they're doing. After all, "people who like to do a good job like to be measured - intelligently and justly, that is" (2).

And the fact remains that other businesses monitor their employees actions whether I do or not. As one survey suggests, "as many as 80 percent of employees in telecommunications, insurance, and banking are subject to telephone or computer-based monitoring" (12). My refusal to keep an eye on those I hire can result in an advantage for the other guys who don't share my moral qualms. You can't afford to be high and mighty when your company's productivity is at stake.

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