Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic the amount of people that work from home has increased significantly. Companies like Google, Microsoft and VISA are now embracing a safe remote work culture in order to slow down the further spread of the coronavirus. A fact that needs to be considered here is not only the health aspect in these times but furthermore also the economical point of view.
A research conducted by Atlas VPN reveals that monitoring a remotely working employee can be executed with less that 10$ a month. (https://trendingng.com/new-research-it-costs-7-for-your-boss-to-monitor-you-working-remotely/). On the other side a remotely working employee can lower costs significantly up to 12.000$ a year in increased productivity, optimized cost of the workspace and a higher health status. Before the coronavirus pandemic, only around 3.6% of U.S. employees worked from home on a regular base.
But as the US is a country with a strong background in trade, e-commerce and human capital activities an amount of probably around 40% of U.S. jobs could be executed completely from home. Because of the major advantages that come with at least some of the work being done from home there will probably a permanent change in the work behavior even after the Covid-19 pandemic is over. A reliable internet connection and advanced technology has made working from home a lot easier than is has been a decade ago, with widely introduced tools like Skype for Business or Slack.
One of the biggest fears of remote work is trust – supervisors and CEOs just don’t trust their employees to work physically unsupervised. The effort of an employee has been defined most of the times by the hours they are in the office and not so much by the actual work results they have accomplished in a defined amount of time. Now Companies like worktime, kickidler, workpuls and wolfeye have developed a software that enables companies to track employee activity by only installing a certain program on their computer.
The software that runs in the background is able to take screenshots of the computer display, create specific stats about the employee computer usage (e.g. is there a significant usage of social media usage). Organizations all around the world want to make sure that their workforce is being productive and takes charge of what they are actually getting paid for. But is this compliant with the current legal situation in the US? Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, says: “When you’re on your office computer, you have no privacy at all. Anything and everything you do on your companies’ computer can be monitored and used by your supervisor”.
Maltby continues with the fact that there have been several court rulings that state all data attained on company equipment belongs to the company. The foundation for this ruling is based on the Communications Privacy Act of 1986, passed long before personal desktop computer and smartphone devices have been invented. On the other hand, European privacy laws are stricter and have been updated lately. Under the known “General Data Protection Regulations”, people living in the European Union have control of their personal data, where it is stored and have the personal right that it is completely removed when they don’t agree on its storage.
The further development of U.S. privacy laws is yet unclear. On the one side people care about their privacy but on the other side we live in an age where our data is also used to serve personal advertisements to us as well as innovative ways of developing new medical products. The most difficult challenge for the relationship of employee and employees when working in a distanced way is the mental environment. Leadership can be quite tough for a supervisor when there is no direct contact and he cannot feel the mood of his employee. Trust and empathy are the secret to success in this situation. The best approach here is to be clear in the collaboration. Set clear goals for the day / week / month and manage the people by looking in their results. This way you give your employees the space they need but also keep on track the company’s success.
A great software for employee monitoring is Wolfeye keylogger. The state-of-the-art software contains all features that are necessary to monitor your employees effectively and at the same time don’t follow every step they are doing.