Skip to main content
Sign up to updates

Workplace Monitoring: new ICO guidance – watching the watchers!

In October 2023, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) published new guidance: Employment practices and data protection − Monitoring workers.”

With the increase in remote working and developments in technology, opportunities to monitor workers have increased exponentially. In addition to undertaking background checks, monitoring can include tracking location on devices, recording calls, internet usage, counting keystrokes, taking screenshots, webcam footage or audio recordings, or using specialist monitoring software to track activity. Importantly, the term “worker” means anyone who performs work for an organisation (not just employees).

ICO research reveals that almost one in five (19%) of people surveyed believe that they have been monitored by an employer, over two-thirds (70%) would find monitoring in the workplace intrusive and fewer than one in five (19%) would feel comfortable taking a new job if they knew that their employer would be monitoring them.

The ICO urges organisations to consider both their legal obligations and their workers’ rights before they implement any monitoring in the workplace.

If you are considering monitoring your workforce, you must take steps which include:

  • Making workers aware of the nature, extent and reasons for monitoring.
  • Having a clearly defined purpose and using the least intrusive means to achieve it.
  • Having a lawful basis for processing workers’ personal data.
  • Telling workers about any monitoring in a way that is easy to understand.
  • Only keeping information relevant to the purpose, it was collected for.
  • Carrying out a Data Protection Impact Assessment for any monitoring that is likely to result in a high risk to workers’ rights.

For advice on how to meet the above, or for more information on this or other privacy in the workplace issues please contact our Data Privacy Team.

Greenwoods Legal LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership, registered in England, registered number OC306912. Our registered office is Queens House, 55-56 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ. A list of the members’ names is available for inspection at our offices in Peterborough, Cambridge and London. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, SRA number 401162. Details of the Solicitors’ Codes of Conduct can be found at All instructions accepted by Greenwoods Legal LLP are subject to our current Terms of Business. VAT Reg No: 161 9287 89.

    By completing and submitting this form, you consent to Greenwoods Legal LLP processing your personal data to provide you with the email update services you have selected and any other materials and information about our services that Greenwoods Legal LLP reasonably believes will be of interest to you. You are free to withdraw your consent at any time by emailing