More than half of employers are surveilling employees’ emails

Even when your boss is not directly behind your shoulder, they may be reading your emails. In a new SimplyHired survey of over 1,000 current employers and employees, more than half of employers — 52% — admitted that they were monitoring their employees’ emails. In an age of heightened surveillance, employees are more aware that their clicks and histories are being watched, but this survey highlights the differences between what employees think is being tracked and what is actually being monitored.

Social media least likely to be monitored

We know there are human eyes in our office computers. In a survey of 307 information technology employees, the IT workers said that 98% of companies they work for are monitoring some part of their employees’ digital activity. The SimplyHired survey breaks down where our perceptions of surveillance align with reality.

Out of all the digital activity being tracked, work emails were the most likely to be tracked, followed by internet browser usage and in-office messages. Many employees were concerned that their employers were tracking their internet browsing history at work, but fewer than half of employers actually monitored these histories. And bosses are not as likely to be creeping on your Instagram. Over half — 54.6% — of employees thought their boss might be tracking their social media accounts, but that was the least likely activity to be tracked in the survey at 27.3%.

When your boss can access what you write in an email, you need to be careful what you are drafting and posting. Those personal emails unrelated to work may come back to hurt employees’ wallets later. Employees thought performance reviews would be most affected by their digital activity, but employers reported that annual bonuses were the most likely to be impacted by non-work-related online activity at work.

Some employees are fighting back against this omnipresent surveillance. Technology employees were the most likely to use privacy software to hide internet browser histories. But if you want more peace of mind, it may help to wait until you are away from the workplace wi-fi and office computers to access and post your personal emails.