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How do I keep an eye on my employees when they’re working from home?

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How do I keep an eye on my employees when they are working from home?

A sensitive, loaded and increasingly common question for companies debating the merits of remote working. Our research uncovered some surprising insights, shared in our video segment on the question. There are actually 2 answers to the question depending on the your organisation’s objective.

If you are looking for insight data to identify opportunities to improve working procedures and increase productivity then, as mentioned in the video, explore and invest in the range of new tools and systems which now enable logging and detailed analysis of employee activity data.

However, if the question originates from concerns over staff performance and behaviour (when visibility over what they are up to throughout their working day is lost), conclusions from research during the Covid lockdown are clear – the vast majority of staff forced to work from home were determined to prove they could be trusted and responded by working longer hours and increasing their productivity.

So, in this case, consider:
  1. Showing staff you trust them to perform
  2. Being explicit about expected deliverables and timescales
  3. Actively highlighting and rewarding performance above the call of duty
  4. Providing employees with the tools and support they need to work efficiently when away from the office

Gains from the above principles have the potential to increase performance and productivity significantly faster and more cheaply that acquiring, testing, integrating and rolling out new tools and technology.

Is it legal to monitor my staff when they are working from home?

As indicated in the video, the short answer is yes, you can legally monitor your employees when they work from home within reason – but some forms of monitoring will require an employee’s explicit consent. ‘Company’ mandated introduction of cameras and / or microphones into the private homes of individuals is governed by a number of increasingly detailed and wide-ranging privacy laws. If this is something you are seriously considering, consult a qualified legal expert on the subject before doing so and include your technology team in the discussions, so they are aware of what’s legal and what isn’t.

Is it ethical to monitor my employees remotely?

In today’s digital age, employee monitoring has become more common. With the advent of new tech, companies now have the ability to track their staff’s behaviour and capture more activity data than ever before. From monitoring email and internet usage to tracking employee location, many employers are now taking advantage of these new tools. But is tracking an employee’s every activity, every email and every chat message, ethical? And is the data captured really likely to improve the fortunes of the business?

Monitoring in order to identify and prevent fraud or potential security breaches is critical for some businesses, not least the financial sector. However, tracking an employee who has not been informed and is not aware they are being monitored, is certainly ethically questionable. Indiscriminate employee monitoring without good cause or notification is an invasion of privacy, undermines employee trust and can lead to criminal prosecution.

Think and plan carefully – for you and your staff it’s important you make the right decision, for the right reasons.

Video text transcript (excluding videos and images):

How do I keep an eye on my employees when they’re working from home?

Hello and thanks for joining me today. I’m Grant Price from YOHO and I’m here to answer your … ‘Question of Work’. Today’s question is from Oscar, who asks “How do I keep an eye on my employees when they’re working from home?”

A surprisingly common question Oscar! But I do think people may have the wrong end of the stick with this one! Today, technology can remotely log our key strokes, wearable tech tracks everything from our step count to our blood sugar and AI analyses the data to predict and report our behaviour.

It’s a sensitive issue – how would you feel if you were being spied on at work? Or even in your own home?

It may surprise you that 44% of workers would agree to let their employer use technology to monitor them – only 31% were against it. And in a recent poll, almost one in three UK workers reported being electronically watched! Demand for remote monitoring software is up by more than 54% in recent months.

You can track your staff’s messaging conversations, take random screenshots of their activities and use machine learning to alert you to suspicious behaviour. The way we work and behave towards each is changing fast! It’s critical we take a breath – to consider the implications …

Yes, we can use technology to micro analyse every activity of our people. The question is, should we?

Are trust and respect no longer important in our brave new World? At YOHO we believe they are – and that it’s possible to create a more effective workspace without restricting personal liberty.

Why not book a free 30-minute consultation with me by clicking the link above?