Monitoring Your Employees Without Invading Their Privacy

Remote work is quickly becoming the norm around the world and employers are looking for ways to stay on top of employee productivity and performance. With working from home comes an element of uncertainty - are employees using their time wisely? Are they working full days? Is employee morale suffering as a result of remote work? Even in a traditional office these questions exist, and none of them are easy to answer without having access to the proper data. In order to get answers to these questions, employers and managers need concrete data about how productively and efficiently their employees are working.

As this data isn’t easy to come by, employers often look to ways to monitor productivity directly through the use of employee monitoring software. The use of such software is common, though somewhat controversial, as valid concerns about respecting employee privacy continue to be discussed. Many employee monitoring tools don’t allow employers to monitor productivity without respecting privacy, potentially breaking workplace privacy laws and alienating employees who don’t want the added pressure of constantly being monitored by their employers.

Employee monitoring for data collection

The use of employee monitoring solutions was common long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced thousands of companies to adopt work from home models overnight. With the recent adoption of brand new (and in many cases, untested) work models creating fear of diminishing employee productivity and revenue, it’s expected that many more companies will make use of employee monitoring software to track productivity going forward. Not only can these tools be used to ease employer worries, but they can also offer extremely useful insights for businesses looking to increase revenue and improve employee satisfaction.

Knowing how productive your employees are, whether in their new home office or in a traditional office environment, allows employers to enhance training, identify at-risk employees who may require additional resources, improve revenue results, and replicate top employee performance. This also means improving employee satisfaction, and building relationships of trust between employees and employers. Unfortunately with many of the employee monitoring tools currently available, this data collection comes with a price - invading employee privacy.

Monitoring employees without invading privacy

Your employees deserve to be treated with trust and respect - without these basic things, it’s easy for employees to become alienated and discouraged. Many employee monitoring solutions go beyond simply monitoring productivity, allowing employers to read emails, keystrokes, capture screenshots, and even enable live video feeds. No employee wants to feel like they’re not being trusted to do what they’re expected to do on a daily basis.

Finding out that you’re constantly being surveilled can have extremely negative effects on employee morale and stress levels, as well as the level of trust between employees and their employers. Employees who are being monitored in such an invasive way can quickly begin to feel like they can’t speak up, leaving team members constantly on edge, affecting the overall quality of work and greatly increasing the possibility of burnout. Ultimately, the result is more likely to be a decrease in productivity.

The solution - compromise and transparency

Before you make the decision to monitor your employees, it’s important to first know exactly what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re simply trying to gather data about employee productivity, there are less intrusive ways to do it, monitoring only information about how your team is making use of the tools available to them, and how they compare to other employees and the organization as a whole. This compromise will keep you in the loop without alienating or stressing out employees, keeping both parties far happier and ultimately more productive.

Solutions like Prodoscore offer business insights that take the guesswork out of managing teams, giving employers critical information about how productive employees are, without being intrusive. Prodoscore gauges employee productivity within workplace tools already in place like G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, CRM solutions like Salesforce, Hubspot, SugarCRM and Zoho, RingCentral, Vonage, and many others without crossing the line or invading employee privacy. With this information, employers can improve revenue results by enhancing employee coaching, increasing employee retention, and building trust across your entire team.

Transparency is another essential part of effective employee monitoring. Get your team involved in the process by telling them exactly what you’re monitoring, why you’re monitoring for productivity, and what you aim to do with the data collected. Assuring employees that they’re not the subject of Orwellian-style surveillance will ensure them that they’re trusted members of the team. 

It’s also wise to remember that all employees are different, and as such, will all respond differently to situations - even your best employees are affected by change, stress, and other outside factors. If your team is new to working from home, you’ll need to allow for some changes to their usual work habits due to the many stressors and other factors that may be affecting them. If a return to the office is on the horizon, some employees will need time to adapt to being away from home again. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to be there for your employees in their time of need, offering them the support and resources necessary so that they can overcome these challenges and return to their happiest and most productive selves.

When it comes to improving employee productivity, a perfect blend of employee monitoring, compromise, transparency, and understanding is far more effective than the overly intrusive band-aid solution. Your employees deserve to be treated with trust and respect, especially in times of stress and uncertainty. By affording them the respect and trust they deserve, you’re making a long-term investment in a happier, more motivated, and far more productive workforce.


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