Monitoring remote workers in accordance with UK data protection regulations

15 December 2023 / Insight posted in Article

In recent years, work styles worldwide have changed significantly. Many UK-based companies now allow their people to work from home or remotely. A challenge for employers is ensuring that their people maintain maximum efficiency and data security during remote work. 

Various technological solutions, such as employing biometric data for monitoring timekeeping and attendance, are available. However, does using such technology align with data protection regulations and safeguard business interests? 

The key factor in this consideration is data protection. For businesses operating in the UK, strict adherence to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) is crucial. Employers must have a full understanding of these regulations to prevent potential costly legal disputes and penalties. 

To assist employers, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued guidance outlining essential steps for organisations considering employee monitoring, summarised here: 

  • Ensure workers are fully informed about the nature, scope and reasons for monitoring. 
  • Establish a clearly defined purpose and choose the least intrusive means to achieve it. 
  • Have a lawful basis for processing workers’ data, such as obtaining consent or adhering to legal obligations. 
  • Communicate information about monitoring in an easily comprehensible way. 
  • Retain only information that is directly relevant to its intended purpose. 
  • Conduct a data protection impact assessment for any monitoring that may pose a high risk to workers’ rights. 
  • Make personal information collected through monitoring accessible to workers on request. 
  • The guidance also includes best practices to help employers foster trust with their workers and uphold their rights to privacy. 

Regardless of a business’s size, industry or nationality, compliance with data protection regulations is mandatory in the UK. It is imperative that employee monitoring is conducted in a manner that aligns with legal requirements. Moore ClearComm offers a comprehensive data protection advisory service. Please contact our team for further assistance. 

Read the ICO’s full guidance on monitoring workers in the workplace here. 

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