As many industries continue to work remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new wave of software now allows employers to track workers online.
According to a survey of 2,000 businesses, nearly 78 percent of employers said they use specialized software to track their employees’ actions online. Powered by ExpressVPN. The same survey found that 74 percent of employers were concerned about productivity in the era of remote work, while at the same time, 83 percent said tracking their employees created an ethical dilemma.
No matter how they feel, new software continues to meet the needs and concerns of employers during the pandemic. According to a report from an Austin, Texas-based news station, users have branded these new digital surveillance programs as “tuttleware” or “bossware” and they are now quite unpopular with the employees working under them. KXAN.
One such program is WorkiQ, developed by Texas-based company ActiveOps. The official webpage for the software claims that it can track remote workers, as well as individual employees, and even automate programs, with the goal of providing clear data to companies.
“WorkiQ aggregates user activity directly from each monitored desktop to provide visibility and insight for the end user,” the site states. “Human, automated, remote employee or hybrid, we remove self-reporting to monitor employee activities and employee performance via desktop, virtual machine or mainframe.”
Regardless of its intended function, ActiveOps told KXAN that the program is easy for employers to abuse, allowing them to invade their employees’ privacy.
“Some organizations have decided that they want to measure every second of every minute of employees’ work time,” said Spencer O’Leary, CEO of ActiveOps. “They’re the type of organization that wants to trap their workforce.”
O’Leary further suggested that employees “vote with their feet” by such monitoring, similar to many American workers currently leaving low-paying, high-stress jobs.
“Some employers have decided not to tell their employees that they are doing these things when they find out, and they will, they are just voting with their feet and going to work for someone else. Leaving,” he explained.
The push to track employees online may be backfiring, according to a report in Forbes. A study by the research firm, Gartner, found that, out of a pool of nearly 2,400 participants, workers were almost twice as likely to pretend to be working when they knew that an employer was actually working more. Instead of tracking them.
Whatever the best solution may be, companies will be employing them for some time. Another survey by the Best Practice Institute from last year found that only 10 percent of remote workers personally want a full-time return to work, compared to about 83 percent of CEOs.