Managing “Productivity Paranoia” With Non-Invasive Employee Productivity Monitoring

As the workplace continues its shift from the office to the home, managers are becoming increasingly on edge. The rise of remote working may offer employees more flexibility, but it’s causing a lot of anxiety for their supervisors, who aren’t entirely comfortable with oversight at a distance.

The term ‘productivity paranoia’ was coined by Microsoft executive Satya Nadella, but you don’t have to be leading one of the world’s biggest tech companies to feel it - 85% of managers say it’s difficult to have confidence in employee productivity in a hybrid workplace. These leaders are struggling with trust because they don’t feel they have enough visibility into their team’s daily activities. 

The problem with paranoia is that it’s contagious. Employees are feeling that lack of trust and becoming wary themselves, thinking they have to constantly prove that they’re working. To make matters worse, many organizations are turning to invasive productivity monitoring solutions such as keystroke monitoring to act as a kind of virtual micromanager.

While it’s tempting to rely on surveillance, Employee Productivity Monitoring (EPM) should always be handled carefully so that it doesn’t erode trust and become counter-productive. 

Handling productivity paranoia requires a nuanced approach that combines non-invasive EPM solutions with a people-centric work culture.

Using employee monitoring solutions to combat productivity paranoia

EPM can certainly help management have more insight, but using invasive solutions means that insight comes at a cost. Some of the more invasive solutions organizations use include keystroke monitoring (using software that tracks and logs every key pressed on a company device) and video surveillance (using live camera feeds to view employees as they work).

Unsurprisingly, workers dislike being watched. This heavy surveillance walks a thin ethical line as it can easily capture personal information and is often introduced without proper communication with employees about how, when, and why it’s being used. This form of EPM is also extremely intrusive and can lead to anxiety among your team, giving them a clear message that they can’t be trusted.

Breakdown of trust leads to poor employee engagement, performance, and retention. It’s also given rise to a new buzzword - ‘digital presenteeism.’ Feeling under pressure to perform, employees react by switching off and going through the motions. They sit in on virtual meetings but don’t contribute. They’re strategic about when they answer emails to make it seem like they’re working more hours. In short, they engage in virtual busy work.

Choosing the right EPM

Managers want more visibility, employees don’t want to feel like they’re being spied upon. How can you balance these apparently competing needs?

By choosing the right EPM and being transparent about its introduction and use. 

Look for an employee productivity platform that monitors business activity rather than keystrokes, personal emails or other non-work-related items. EPM solution Prodoscore surfaces insights around how employees are using core business applications such as your organization’s CRM, project management tools, and message boards. By monitoring how employees interact with these tools, the program builds an accurate picture of your team’s daily work activity - without dipping into their personal data or rummaging around their computers.

Prodoscore compiles this invaluable data daily, giving each individual worker and their team an overall productivity score that can be tracked over time to better identify patterns and trends. Actionable insights are accessible through a central hub so managers can get the information they need to allay their fears in just a few clicks, and employees understand how they’re contributing every day. 

Prodoscore takes the guesswork out of leadership. Armed with the data, they can make smarter and better-informed decisions to benefit their team in the short-term and for the future.

Employees will also be reassured that their personal information remains off-limits. When communicating with teams, managers should be fully transparent about what EPM involves - how it works, the data it collects, how that data is used and stored - and be ready to answer any questions or concerns. 

Remote working is here to stay, but just because employees are reluctant to give up their newfound freedom doesn’t mean managers have to worry. Tailor-made for remote and hybrid teams, Prodoscore overcomes many of the challenges associated with working outside the office - giving leaders a bird’s eye view of what’s happening across their teams without having to look over their shoulders.

How will visibility impact your business?