Many companies installed a ‘spy-like’ program on their computer so they could monitor the employees — making sure they are using the company’s resources for the work purposes and keeping them from doing nasty stuff.
That practice may keep up productivity, but some people might uncomfortable with this rule — somehow it’s bothering your privacy freedom.
But first, how to tell if your employer monitors you at work? To answer that question, here are some tips to start your investigation.
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#1 Check Task Manager to if there’s a monitoring program running
Most companies using third-party monitoring software which enables the executive to see what you do with the company’s computer. Assuming your work computer using Windows, you might able to check from Task Manager whether the computer is been monitoring.
Right-click on the Taskbar and select Task Manager. On the Process tab, find a program that potentially monitoring the computer. You might want to check out a top monitoring software to help you determine the name. If you found one exact same name, it means you are being monitored.
So, can I kill the program?
Technically, yes you can, but personally, I highly not recommend that action.
The administrator probably gets a warning from the system and come to your room to enable it back. They might ask you why and you probably will receive a disciplinary letter, or worse.
How about uninstalling the program?
It seems impossible since it was installed by the administrator and the computer you used is a client. Uninstalling the monitoring program may require permission from the upstream which apparently not feasible.
Unplug the Ethernet cable?
Between admin and client computer generally linked by Ethernet cable which also responsible for internet connections. When the cable is detached, the system will immediately identify which the device has been disconnected.
#2 Ask ‘indirectly’ to the administrator/IT team
Not all monitoring software leave a presence in Task Manager. Some of them are more advanced, they run in a stealth-mode and not appear on the installed programs.
According to my experience, you can ask the admin, IT team, or whoever entity that responds to watch the workers. They tend not to answer such questions. Instead, ask a clever question to ‘provoke’ them reveal whether they track client computers.
For example, this is a question that I’ve been used previously (and it works).
Joe, can you come here? I have an issue of my computer.
But Joe is not coming to my block. Instead, he gains access to my computer to resolve the problem remotely. Most monitoring software has a remote control feature that enables them to control the client’s computer from the admin computer.
From there, I realize that I’ve been monitored all along. Here are some similar questions you could pick.
Mark, I have a problem here, can you fix it remotely?
Wade, my monitor just freeze, can you see it from your own?
Nelson, would you like to guide me to blah blah blah?
Use your creativity to build a perfect question based on your situation. The clever the question, the more accurate the answer.
#3 Look back at the hiring agreement
Some companies will tell you if they monitored the workers. It has been written on the hiring agreement or the company’s rules. If you still have the document, try to read it again carefully, you might find hidden information you missed. But some companies also not clearly telling the employees about this policy.
If your boss is a good person and appreciates the privacy concern, perhaps he/she happily answer your question as long as you don’t have negative intentions.
Conclusion: There’s nothing you can do but to obey
There are many ways to tell If someone is monitoring your computer at work, for example by detecting from Task Manager, make a question to the administrator, or look back at the hiring agreement document.
As an employee, obeying the rules is mandatory. After all, companies that monitor their employee didn’t mean to infiltrate your freedom of privacy, but rather protecting the work standard and preventing unnecessary problems.