monitoring remote work-productivity

How Mobility Pros Can Monitor Remote Workers While Respecting their Privacy

A clear observation in the workplace is its widespread absence across different business sectors. At the height of the pandemic, businesses drew conclusions that the only way to achieve business continuity is to implement a remote or hybrid workforce

While this has proven to be true, the monitoring of remote work has business leaders thinking on different methods on how to do so. Some companies resorted to investing in surveillance software to keep tabs on remote employees. Business leaders consider this as an important step to maintaining productivity within their workforce even without physically being present. 

An advantage of keeping an eye on employees’ work is to distinguish those who utilize their time solely for work from those who are pretending to do work. However, the question of where to draw the line concerning workers’ privacy is something that needs to be looked into. In fact, an article from TechRadar mentions a research demonstrating that 1 in every 5 companies installed surveillance software to monitor employees even without their consent. From the employees’ perspective, this can be viewed as a pervasive approach to monitoring from the employer. 

The demand for surveillance software also termed “tattleware” has boomed ever since the pandemic forced companies to turn to remote work. Workpuls, an employee monitoring software, enjoyed a 1000% increase in daily page views. Moreover, ActvTrak, a competitor, enjoys 3.9 million daily page view counts. 

With the heightened demand for tattleware, where do employers find the balance of creating a safe yet monitored remote workplace for their employees? 

Pros and cons of employee monitoring

A study by Clutch back in 2020 elaborates on the pros and cons of employee monitoring. 

One of the cons of integrating tattlewares is running the risk of negatively affecting employee morale. Only 10% of the respondents in the study expressed their trust in the company if surveillance software was used to track their work activities.

Dave Morley, general manager of Rockstar Recruiting, experienced this firsthand. He previously worked for a business that introduced surveillance software without informing its workforce. This led to a significant drop in company morale. He suggested, “Employee monitoring would have been much better received had management informed employees that their work was going to be monitored and given them reasons why.”

Another disadvantage is the unfamiliarity with surveillance software. In its study, almost half of the 400 US employees say the company they’re in doesn’t use any surveillance software. To add, 30% aren’t even sure if their company uses surveillance software.

On a more positive note, nearly three-quarters of the respondents don’t see a negative impact on their productivity if their company opts to get surveillance software to track their progress. Employees actually see this as an opportunity to showcase their competence and prove their worth as an integral part of the organization.

Although this study sheds light on how some employees view surveillance software, there is still a divide on whether implementing such a tool would prove beneficial to a company.

Things to consider when implementing employee surveillance software

A Harvard Business Review explains that for whatever reason a company decides to keep tabs on remote workers’ activity, they must do it in a way that respects its employees. It shares its recommendations on how to go about this.

  • Identify relevant metrics to gather from all stakeholders

Surveillance software generates data so businesses can make decisions on the basis of this data. But what if the numbers collected from the software aren’t relevant resulting in leaders making misinformed decisions. To determine the right metrics, businesses ought to engage with all the relevant stakeholders in the whole process.

  • Provide transparency about what you’re monitoring from them and why

Trust is one of the most essential parts of an employee-employer relationship. It not only gives the respect that your employees deserve, but it also creates a more communicative atmosphere inside the workforce. Gartner discovered that transparency boosts employee acceptance rate from 30% to more than 50%. 

  • Use carrot and stick motivation

Supervisors who stand watch of employees’ activity are often viewed as keen wardens rather than motivators. So when a company decides to install surveillance software, it’s also important to communicate to them the rewards of competence that’s proven with the software. This can help improve employee productivity and avoid workers inefficiently using their time. 

  • Balance the monitoring of employees

Overdoing monitoring can create massive repercussions on high-performing employees’ productivity. It causes them to constantly walk on eggshells and might affect their work activities. It’s encouraged to pull back monitoring efforts on employees who have proved competence in their tasks. This strategy helps employers convey trust towards a capable workforce.

Whether a company decides to monitor its workforce or not, one thing is assured — the workforce is one of the lifelines of any business. That’s why it’s crucial to monitor employee activity without risking a significant attrition rate of high-performing employees. It’s too costly to lose them in the present circumstances.