I was disappointed to read there’s increased demand for surveillance software that allows bosses to check on staff working remotely. Really? I thought we were past this old-fashioned mindset. Surely the success of home-working during the pandemic has shown employers staff can work productively without someone breathing down their neck.
In the 25 years I’ve worked remotely, I’ve been motivated by the need to meet deadlines, not by the thought Big Brother is monitoring what time I log on. (They’d probably be horrified – I’m most definitely not a morning person). And I finish, often late, in the evening. Either when the job is done to my satisfaction or when I’m no longer being productive. Not according to some arbitrary time on the clock.
But, apparently, there’s been a surge in demand for Big Brother products such as Hubstaff. This allows managers to see what websites and apps staff are visiting, their GPS location, how long they’re working and, most intrusive of all, their activity level. This is based on the number of mouse clicks and keystrokes, as well as taking screenshots of employees’ laptops every ten minutes.
Clearly the businesses who buy these products don’t value thinking time.
Competitor ActivTrak is nothing more than a digital snitch, alerting bosses if employees visit social media sites during work hours. Another firm, Teramind, tracks websites an employee visits and judges whether these are ‘productive’ or ‘unproductive’ visits. Talk about Big Brother!
Del Currie, co-founder of the aptly-named Sneek, whose software takes a picture of workers at their laptops every five minutes claimed his company’s software is meant to be used by both employees and their bosses. The photo allows people to see if a colleague is free to join a work call. (Yeah right, we believe you Del).
At least someone is speaking up for the workers. Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, said, “This risks turning the workplace into a digital sweatshop. At a time when employers should be valuing employees’ wellbeing and persistence, it’s disappointing some are only seeking new technology to track them.”
In my opinion, companies who feel the need for these surveillance tools to monitor staff are telling me one thing. That the employer/employee relationship has irretrievably broken down.
But what do you think? I’d welcome your comments below.
And if you need a copywriter you can trust to get your message across, please get in touch!