Switching to work from home due to the impact of the pandemic, many US companies use an application to track employee activity, controversially over monitoring.
David (23 years old, not his real name) admitted he was relieved when the first wave of Covid-19 caused his office in Arlington, Virginia (USA) to close.
Having just graduated from college, David is new to the industry and has not yet been able to keep up with his colleagues. The 23-year-old thinks that working from home will temporarily save him from the difficulties compared to the office, according to The Guardian.
“I was completely wrong,” he admitted.
Within just the first week of working remotely, David and his team were introduced to a digital surveillance platform by their superiors called Sneek. About every minute, the program captures a live photo of David and his colleagues via the computer webcam and updates it on a shared screen that everyone on the team can see.
When you click on a colleague’s profile picture, Sneek will immediately connect with that person through a video call. Even if they catch someone’s funny moment, group members can take a screenshot and send it to the chat group.
After less than 3 weeks of work, David resigned.
“I’m applying here to manage digital marketing, not live-streaming my living room.”
The explosion of surveillance software
Since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, employers quickly turned to remote monitoring software like Sneek to manage employees working from home.
In April 2020, searches for the keyword “remote monitoring” on Google increased by 212% year-on-year. As of April this year, the figure is 243%.
Working from home, employees are still monitored by their superiors every minute. Photo: Pexels.
These software give employers many options to monitor their employees’ online activity and measure their productivity: from taking screenshots of employee images to recording keystrokes or tracking progress. Browser.
As the demand for remote monitoring grows, the companies that provide these software are also quick to roll out new features to attract customers.
Despite the controversy, the boss’s remote monitoring of employees is not going away anytime soon, even if workers return to work in the office or combine working online and working at the office.
Click your tongue to pass
Whether the superior monitoring remote employees is excessively controlling or merely serving the purpose of work depends on each person’s point of view.
For a long time, many office workers have taken it for granted that their work email is being monitored; Warehouses, offices, shops always have surveillance cameras. In a survey by Clutch site, nearly three-quarters of workers said their productivity was not affected even when they knew their superiors were watching.
“A study we did shows that people who work from home are more productive when they’re aware they’re being watched, compared to co-workers who aren’t,” says Elizabeth Lyons. , an associate professor at the University of California, said.
She adds that supervision even increases employee satisfaction, which they appreciate when they see how important their productivity is to the company.
The trend of superiors monitoring employees working from home has increased during the pandemic. Photo: Shutterstock.
However, Ms. Lyons admits that when oversight becomes too authoritarian, employee morale suffers.
“In our other studies, many workers shared, ‘If my manager keeps track of everything I do, I’ll only get the job done they expect from me, nothing more'” she said.
In addition, the employer’s monitoring of remote employees is related to privacy issues. Carloz, a digital researcher, is concerned that the explosion of management software is showing the benefits in favor of employers.
“Before the Covid-19 epidemic broke out, the line between work and play was clearer, supervision did not go too deep.”
According to Carloz, most employers are not interested in collecting personal information of their subordinates. They just want to know what websites their employees are accessing, how their time is allocated during office hours.
However, if an employer intends to snoop on employees’ personal data outside of working hours, and it’s entirely possible to do so if employees use company-supported computers, according to Carloz, in In most Western countries, there are still not many legal protections for workers.
“Rightly or wrongly, surveillance software is being seen as a trade-off when it comes to working remotely, and many people still chuck it.”
How to protect information when working from home?
Updating computer software before starting work or activating two-factor authentication for social networking accounts are two of the ways to protect information.