Can you, and should you monitor staff activity when they’re home working?

Your questions answered

by Phoebe Parsons

Phoebe Parsons | Project Administrator at claireLOGIC

This is quite a controversial subject with many mixed views, but given that 46% of workers in the UK currently work from home (either permanently or on a hybrid basis), it’s definitely something a lot of businesses are considering.

The main and most obvious reason employers consider staff home monitoring is because they simply don’t have the same amount of visibility of their employees’ activity as they would do in an office environment. As a result, staff monitoring methods, including the following, are becoming increasingly popular (and necessary?) for business with remote workforces:

  • Recording calls
  • Logging keystrokes
  • Tracking internet use
  • Monitoring activity via screenshots
  • Checking email content

The benefits of hybrid and home working

The benefits of using these tools for the employer are quite obvious; ensuring staff are working a full day, monitoring what work they do, monitoring client comms, and making sure they aren’t using their work computers for anything other than work.

Now, although this can be positive in helping the business maintain its productivity levels and encouraging a hard-working business culture, it can also have some negative effects…

…74% of people have a negative perception of employee monitoring. This is because it can create a culture of mistrust and people feel it’s a huge invasion of privacy. What’s more, the point of home working is to provide employees with more independence and flexibility, and some individuals find with employee monitoring becoming increasingly popular, that they are even more controlled at home than when working in the office.

This can lead to an overall decrease in job satisfaction and in more extreme cases has even been seen to cause employees to leave their company!

So…what should your business be doing?

The methods and degree to which businesses implement employee monitoring when working from home are always going to be unique to each business. What works for one does not work for all. In order to determine what you should be doing with your business, the best thing you can do is simply weigh up the pros and cons.

Try considering some of the following questions:

What’s more important to your business? Is productivity reduced due to home working? Would letting employees know you monitor their activity help rectify this? Would it make employees uncomfortable and make things worse?

Perhaps there are other ways to boost and maintain productivity and efficiency? What incentives can you offer employees? If the business is meeting its aims and objectives, and the work that needs to be done is getting done, do you really need to monitor your employees every move…? That’s up to you!

 

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