The Post-Pandemic Workplace: What’s The Future Of Employee Surveillance?

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on August 25, 2021

Your boss may be watching you right now, with or without your permission. Employee surveillance has grown increasingly significant during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is difficult for management to keep track of employees’ work schedules when entire teams are working remotely. When managers are unable to supervise their direct reports, they cannot believe that they are functioning, even if they are performing well, which leads to micromanagement, employee discontent, and increased stress levels for everyone.

Employers can have access to various technologies that allow them to monitor and measure team performance from afar.

Companies want to keep the same amount of control over their employees as before the pandemic since trust is at the foundation of all working relationships. Even if the workforce is increasingly fragmented and dispersed, this does not lessen employers’ control over their employees’ conduct; in fact, it increases it. As a result of the move to remote working, businesses have been collecting more personal data, analyzing it, and utilizing it to make decisions.

The technological solutions that employees use regularly have been one straightforward approach to gather information. For example, I was on a Zoom conversation with a customer who stated that she didn’t want to record it since she already had so many recordings. she claims that it “makes everyone more guarded.” We’ve reached a stage where many employees resist data gathering to feel more liberated and comfortable working and talking with coworkers. All of your office’s usual side discussions are now virtual. Data is gathered that would not have been collected otherwise.

While some organizations are open about monitoring your work activity, others are more secretive and go to great efforts to keep tabs on you. Private investigators are hired by businesses to guarantee that their employees are focused on their daily tasks rather than being distracted. That is why for a remote work program to be successful, trust is necessary. Because confidence was not created beforehand, firms who don’t trust their employees and subsequently enable them to work remotely must engage in surveillance. We must likewise refocus our attention away from employee hours and toward corporate performance.

Employee surveillance has increased as a result of the pandemic

During the pandemic, businesses have spent more on technology because they need to be as efficient as possible while still scaling and innovating for the future. While just 30% of companies monitored their staff in 2015, an estimated 80% of businesses do so now. Over half of employees are more comfortable with surveillance when firms are open and honest about their objectives. According to the second research, 62 percent of firms collect data about their staff using new technological tools.

Employees accept being watched when there is openness and a clear goal. On the other hand, some businesses have been tracking their employees without providing any warning. During the previous months of social upheaval around the death of George Floyd, Google is said to have created a tool to track employees who were organizing labor rights rallies. According to reports, the application was installed without permission on employees’ computers and then automatically reported employees who booked conference rooms for groups of ten to one hundred individuals.

Barclay’s, Unlike Google, used monitoring technologies to track how long it took their workers to complete tasks. They also follow how much time they spent away from their workstations in their UK offices. As a result of the UK’s stricter privacy rules, the company is now facing a $1.1 billion punishment. Organizations can only monitor employees if they meet the requirements of being both “transparent” and “necessary” under the GDPR privacy legislation.

How to Monitor Employees at Work?

Businesses are taking contact surveillance to the next level to minimize COVID-19 infections among employees in physical settings. Some companies have invested in heat-detection cameras to monitor employee body temperatures. In contrast, others have adopted wearable neckwear for employees who receive an alarm when they are near one another. Software that can take webcam photos of employees to verify they’re at their workstations at all times is another invasive technology being employed.

Examples of data that businesses can collect and analyze are emails, social media posts, biometric data collection, GPS tracking of company vehicles, logging Zoom or phone calls, security card readers, voicemails, Internet search activities, mouse movements, keyboard strokes, and security cameras. Employers are most likely to gather employee medical data (41%), employee mobility data (26%), and work computer usage data (26%), according to a Gartner research. With the advent of telemedicine and the rising expense of healthcare, there’s little question that monitoring will become more intrusive and pervasive in our personal lives and our professional lives.

XNSPY is the simplest and safest cell phone and tablet monitoring software available. So please pay attention to what your staff is saying and with whom they communicate. In a sophisticated reader-friendly approach, XNSPY allows you to review all call records and contacts lists remotely. You can monitor your employees’ activities from afar by monitoring their texts, iMessages, and IM chats such as WhatsApp, Viber, Line, and Skype. Five additional social networking applications may also be used to keep track of the shared content. On the map, you can see where your staff are at any moment. With XNSPY’s sophisticated and precise mobile tracking app, you may check their location history remotely from their phones or tablets. 

Managers who use the XNSPY app can be alerted if an employee engages in a pattern of suspicious conduct, such as printing both a confidential client list and a résumé, which might indicate that someone is departing and taking their book of business with them.

Employers may use the software to provide employees greater freedom to fit their employment around their other commitments. It may also enable managers to identify places where they are overstaffed or where extra help is required. You may remotely view all data saved on their devices by installing XNSPY employee monitoring software on their company-owned phones or tablets. In today’s competitive business world, you can’t make judgments based on conjecture about what your employees are up to all day unless you utilize XNSPY to follow their real and digital life activities throughout the day. Business owners might save money by purchasing several licenses and take advantage of a plethora of great monitoring options. 

Employee monitoring’s benefits and disadvantages

While monitoring may appear to be a danger and signal a lack of trust on the surface, If workers can use the data to become more productive, manage their time more efficiently, and be more efficient, it may greatly benefit them in various ways. Employees are more inclined to focus when they know they’re being observed. Thus monitoring can encourage healthy work habits. Knowing that your boss is watching you from afar will make you more conscientious about managing your time and how you interact with coworkers and clients.

When employers have supervision through monitoring, they can find genuine issues like sexual harassment, bullying, and racism that might otherwise go unnoticed or be swept under the rug. Employers can make more intelligent judgments about managing their remote and critical personnel, enforcing security regulations, effectively distributing projects, optimizing procedures and productivity, and guaranteeing pleasant customer experiences with more data at their fingertips.

However, there are several disadvantages, such as employees becoming more worried and uncomfortable knowing that their boss is watching their every action. While we value the flexibility at Covid, monitoring would make work less flexible since there would be pressure to stay connected even if you had personal obligations. Employees may lose faith in their bosses due to watching indications that they aren’t being treated like adults. Then there are worries about privacy, mainly if employees are unaware of how their data is being utilized. Employees may be put in a bind if the information is abused, resulting in a turnover.

Employee surveillance in the future

Monitoring will become increasingly intimate, invasive, and ubiquitous, much like technology as a whole. Instead of using a traditional keycard, individuals may wave their palms (including the chip) to unlock doors. Employees’ brain waves and emotions are being monitored in China to detect mood changes. This information is gathered and utilized to send employees home to rest if they show signs of excessive stress. This technique improved earnings by $315 million for one Chinese firm that used it. As test trials in other nations prove effective, we could see comparable technology in America in the future.

While chips and brain wave monitoring may make you uncomfortable right now, we will ultimately acclimate to new workplace technologies because we must, they help us, and they will become commonplace as a result of widespread adoption. Consider telemedicine, ride-sharing, cloud computing, and robots, all of which have become commonplace in the last several years. As we become increasingly reliant on technology, new opportunities and risks to our future working and living environments emerge.

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Grit Daily News is the premier startup news hub. It is the top news source on Millennial and Gen Z startups — from fashion, tech, influencers, entrepreneurship, and funding. Based in New York, our team is global and brings with it over 400 years of combined reporting experience.

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