If You Feel You Are Being Watched, You Are

If You Feel You Are Being Watched, You Are

May 16, 2023
New survey shows 96% of companies are using employee monitoring software.

Every since COVID many companies have developed ways to keep an eye on employees.

What are the results of this surveillance?  In March, ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 business leaders at companies with a primarily remote and/or hybrid workforce and found the following:

96% of Remote Companies Use Employee Monitoring Software

“It’s clear from our survey that there are still organizations struggling to manage their workforce post-pandemic,” comments  Chief Career Advisor Staci Haller, in a statement.  “The focus on hours worked versus actual productivity and the successful completion of timely projects seems to reflect the challenges management teams are facing when it comes to readjusting how they manage a remote workforce.”

This confusion is causing employers to turn to monitoring. And employees know about this; only 5% say their employees are unaware they are being monitored.

Just 10% of remote companies were monitoring employees pre-pandemic, while 37% started during the first year of the pandemic and 20% started monitoring within the past year.

Results?  Companies love it -- 96% say it's paying off. Ninety-seven percent of respondents ‘somewhat’ (34%) or ‘strongly’ (63%) believe that implementing this software has increased employee productivity

When asked to list the ways in which their company uses monitoring software, the most common answers were monitoring web browsing and application use (62%) and blocking content and applications (49%).

And some companies, 37% according to the survey,  require remote employees to be on camera all day. Of this group, 93% say the live video feed is monitored, with the majority reporting that the person or people watching the feeds do so for 4 or more hours per day.

7 in 10 Say Employees Have Quit Over Monitoring

The other side of the increase in productivity is that companies are losing employees.  In fact, 69% of companies say they’ve had employees quit because they didn’t want to be monitored. Of this group, the largest percentage (35%) say the company has lost 6-10 workers over this issue.

“In our study, it was found that folks had, on average, about 2 hours of non-productive time during the day, but I would point out that 2 hours may be easily wasted when working in-house as well,” continues Haller, in a statement. “However, in-house employees are not being monitored in the same way. It is not surprising that many employees do not want to feel like big brother is watching them daily when they are good employees and working hard for their organization.”

In addition to quitting, 73% of companies said they have let workers go based on data from this surveillance. Of this group, 34% say six to ten workers have been fired as after reviewing this data. 

1 in 10 Say Monitoring Software is Used to Encourage RTO

Fourteen percent of respondents say their in-person employees are not subject to monitoring software, while 85% say their in-person workers are also subject to monitoring.

Of this 14%, more than two-thirds (about 1 in 10 of the total sample) believe that the fact that only remote workers have to be monitored is used to encourage employees to work in person more often.

When asked why they believe this, write-in responses included:

  • “Pursue higher work efficiency and team spirit”
  • “We can push each other to work”
  • “Telecommuting can make it difficult to communicate and collaborate with employees”
  • “The best way to increase productivity”
  • “Work matters can be better communicated, problems can be solved more easily, and the relationships between colleagues can be improved”

“As managers become more comfortable in managing a remote workforce, and as younger workers become managers and have been working more of their career remotely, software monitoring will hopefully become antiquated and the focus will be on results and not the amount of time worked,” explains Haller, in a statement.  “Companies who do employee monitoring need to let their applicants know up front, thereby giving them the option to withdraw if this is not an environment they want to work in. If companies are having difficulties attracting talent if they are monitoring them, then we may also see a change in the prevalence of this technology.”

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