Every Third Employee is Monitored by Their Boss
Since the pandemic started, employee surveillance has become quite a popular choice of companies worldwide. Numerous businesses allowed people to work from home but found it challenging to track what their employees were doing during work hours.
Enter employee tracking software.
Tracking solutions have been around for years. However, they weren’t nearly as widely used as they are today. They help companies ensure that their daily operations run smoothly and that no one is slacking on the job. But isn’t it a bit invasive?
Let’s dig deeper into this widespread practice and find out what you can do about it.
32% of Workers Are on the Receiving End of Employee Tracking Practices
A recent survey found that 32% of workers are monitored by their employers. That’s an 8% increase from April 2021.
Regarding camera monitoring, 13% of workers are on the receiving end. Most workers (80%) agree that there should be either heavy regulations (28%) or a legal ban (52%) for accessing remote employees’ webcams.
The survey found that companies keep track of 48% of workers in the 18-34 age range and access 20% of the webcams.
According to a global study by VMware, 70% of companies use or plan on implementing employee surveillance measures to track productivity.
The most common measures those companies opted for include:
- Email monitoring (44%)
- Collaboration tools (43%)
- Web browser monitoring (41%)
- Video surveillance (29%)
- Webcam attention tracking (28%)
- Keystroke logging (26%)
Perhaps the most alarming finding is that 24% of employees don’t even know if their organization has implemented employee tracking solutions on their devices.
Is Remote Employee Monitoring Even Legal?
As surprising as it may sound, remote employee monitoring is legal. Employers can track their work-from-home employees without being in illegal waters if the reason for monitoring their activity is significant to the business, and they don’t misuse the tracking technology.
One of the biggest reasons for employee monitoring is ensuring that they don’t share company information with third parties.
Another reason is to gain an insight into every remote worker’s productivity. Companies want to know if their employees are working when they should or spending time on social media.
However, there are no regulations for utilizing the tracking technology, so there’s no guarantee that your employer won’t misuse it and violate your privacy.
What Can Your Employer Monitor with Employee Tracking Software?
Your employer can see when you started working, what projects you’re working on, what you’re searching for in a browser, and which websites you visit. They can see the time and length of your inactivity, such as when taking a break and when you’ve finished working. Thus, it can keep track of your every online move (if they want).
Employee tracking software can even take snapshots of workers every ten or so minutes for their bosses to see if they’re sitting in front of a computer at all.
These are only numerous tracking software features that give a real-time overview of all employees’ activities during work hours.
But is it only during work hours? That’s what concerns people the most. No one wants their boss or manager looking at their browser history, sifting through personal files, and reading their conversations with friends or family.
Can they do that? Yes, if they so desire because the software gives them access to such private information.
Now, they may not be interested in your private conversations, but they still want proof that you’re not sharing any company secrets. They can get it by searching for specific keywords to ensure private company information remains private.
Still, it can feel like an invasion of privacy, especially if they can access your webcam.
Can You Hide from Your Boss When Working Remotely?
Of course, the first thing to do for employees is to establish communication between the involved parties.
Workers should be clear about tracking that makes them uncomfortable. However, if the monitoring seems far too invasive, especially if your company follows a BYOD policy, there are tricks to help you.
For instance, a Virtual Private Network encrypts your connection between your device and the internet. Thus, your internet traffic gets scrambled and travels through a secure remote server.
No one can intercept, let alone access, that tunnel, which means your boss can’t see what you’re doing online. Of course, there are limits to this solution, and you should check whether the use of a VPN does not violate any rules in your company.
Employee surveillance has become a big privacy problem requiring heavy regulations. But until the government regulates the use of employee tracking technology, you can use a VPN to safeguard your privacy and data.