Many employers have concerns about the amount of time their employees are spending on personal, non-work activities on the internet and telephone.
If the employees are using the employer’s own facilities for personal use, it’s normally quite straightforward to monitor activity. Most IT departments will already store logs of internet access, which will include the identity of the computer being used and the domain name of the service being accessed, along with a time. In this way. For example, you could see that computer number 243 accessed facebook.com at 10:32am. There are plenty of software solutions able to generate such reports. Similarly, whether you have an internal network or a single line, you will be able to generate an itemized list of incoming and outgoing calls for each extension.
There are potential problems with these kind of data logs, however. Firstly, there is the risk that employees are using colleagues’ computers or phones, so you might not be sure exactly who is doing what. Also, for internet usage only a page request is logged, and there is no reliable way of knowing how long a person subsequently spent on that page. They could have been reading a page for half an hour, say, or maybe they looked for 10 seconds then got back to their work.
In some cases it can be difficult to filter work and non-work activities, particularly if employees might have legitimate reasons for using social media or making external calls to unknown numbers. There is also the problem of employees using their own phones and devices to circumvent detection.
A better approach, therefore, should principally rely on traditional supervision and management techniques, to make sure employees are delivering work on time and to check on their productivity throughout the day. If you do feel that there is a problem around work ethic in the office, you would do well to investigate the causes for this further.