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I Spy . . .

Workplace surveillance is coming to small and midsized businesses.

This story appears in the August 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Not sure what your employees are up to during working hours? Big companies are doing everything from installing monitoring software on employee computers to hiring undercover actors to pose as new hires and collect evidence of wrongdoing. But what are smaller companies doing?

Only about 20 percent of employers actively monitor e-mail and Internet usage, while another 20 percent are thinking about it but not actively monitoring, according to Mallary Tytel, president of Healthy Workplaces LLC, a workplace issues consulting firm in Bolton, Connecticut. In fact, 50 percent of employers monitor employees only if a complaint or problem arises. "It depends on resources," notes Tytel. Small to midsize companies are more likely to use technological surveillance (i.e., computer spy programs), as they're more readily available than undercover detective agencies, which can get a bit pricey.

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