Business owners and managers monitor on their workforce behavior while working remotely during the pandemic
The Corona pandemic has led to an increased amount of people working remotely from home in order to protect themselves and their colleagues from potential virus infections. In these times more and more employees have started the usage of highly advanced technology in order to track what the work force is doing and keep productivity on a reliable level. The future of new forms of work collaborations has just started and the questions is where it will be leading us. Is this really benefiting the employee or are we talking here about the next Truman show?
Potential disturbance has statistically raised to up to 42% in the US – as an increased amount of employee are working out of their kitchen, living rooms and taking care of different things in parallel like for example home-schooled kids. As a reaction to this trend employers have started to demand the download and installation of tracking software onto their business notebooks and smartphones. The ambition for this is to track work performance and activity in order to get the most out of the employee’s time working for the company. The well-known software Wolfeye employee monitoring is a state-of-the-art software that takes care of this matter and is rising in sales since the start of the corona pandemic in 2020. It is capable of recognizing keystroke-activity, websites visited and desktop applications used. Furthermore, Wolfeye Screenviewer is able to track screenshots on a regular base and great for convenient check-ups without in depth research.
Laws can be interpreted in various ways
Online monitoring of employees can potentially seem invasive and stalky, but in general it is a legal way to be used in a business within the United States. It may occur that certain state laws require companies to inform their workers that they are using monitoring software, but this can be communicated within the general working contract just like a drug-free policy. Employees should be aware that everything that is happening in their usual work time on the companies equipment can be monitored and evaluated.
The current ruling has been set decades ago, it is based on the ECPA (Electronic Communications Act of Privacy) from the year 1986, long before computers have become mainstream and the first source for communication what the telephone by wire.
The current coronavirus situation boosted the trend of the digitalization and companies like SAP, IBM and Walmart started to track information like employee’s health status online. Furthermore, some companies require a temperature measurement before they are starting to work in order to reduce the risk of potential further coronavirus infections. This is a good example that also in popular Fortune 500 companies’ legitimate reasons have been found to collect very private data to establish a safe workplace environment. The golden question in the end is what kind of information-gathering-level is appropriate within the workplace and what motives and regulations have to been followed.
On of the effects of surveillance in the general working remote from home-office situation is that an increasing amount of people working from home complain about the constant pressure by being tracked from the headquarter and the not existing border of working time and private time. Especially in these challenging economic times they don’t share their concerns with their boss and just stay quiet. Instead, an open talk between the team manager and the employees about the certain motives and rules of the productivity tracking could really help here at this point.
U.S. labor unions have not been eager to accelerate an updating in the existing federal and state laws. Not only should they promote the update of the outdated laws and introduce regulations for digital employee monitoring, but as well put into discussion a compensation for employers to come up with money for necessary work utilities while working remotely.
Will remote work also increase in the future?
With the ongoing increase of people working remotely from outside of the company, concerns are growing that is kind of collaboration is becoming the new normal. A recent released survey stated that over 70% of companies plan to keep some of their workforce permanently on remote, with over 25% saying that the amount of people shifted to remote work will be around 1/5 of the whole workforce. Big software companies follow this trend.
Google just announced to keep it 200.00 full-time workforce as well as contract supporters outside of the company’s facility and inside their private home offices at least until June 2021, whereas Mark Zuckerberg – the founder of Facebook – predicts over 50% of the people working from home trough this decade. Also, companies from the finance sector follow this regulation. HUB International manages to shift over 90% of their 12.000+ employees to work remotely from home. There is a high chance that this pandemic will change the way we work together forever.
A recent released survey stated that it forecasted that the proportion of working days spent at home will increase from 5% to 20% on a long-term level. But also, a huge inequality gap comes with this circumstance because quite a few jobs cannot be executed remotely. In general, the higher paying, more educated employees are far more likely able to work from home, with a consistent salary payout and no negatives impacts on their careers.
But a lot of other people are not able to do so, either because there are not able to by their employer or they don’t have the necessary equipment like office utilities or a stable and fast internet connection. The future of work has changed more than ever before in human history and it is still uncertain in which direction it will develop. In this difficult period of time, it is important to hold together and not misuse the pandemic to make work conditions worse. The most stable and affordable software to use for employee monitoring is Wolfeye. It can be installed within minutes and is extremely user-friendly.