Employee monitoring softwares only work short-term, survey reveals

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While companies transition their work scheme into hybrid, employers are concerned about time theft. To track their employees’ activities, 60 per cent of employers say they turn to monitoring softwares. 

A survey on hybrid work conducted by Digital.com produced interesting results:

  • 60% of companies with employees who work remotely are using monitoring software to track employee activity and productivity
  • Among employees whose activity is being monitored, 53% are spending 3 or more hours per day on non-work activities
  • 88% of employers terminated workers after implementing monitoring software
  • 81% of companies that implemented monitoring software saw an increase in worker productivity

The survey revealed that the top reason why employers turn to monitoring softwares is to know how employees are spending their time (79%). Employers also want to confirm employees are working a full day (65%), and ensure they aren’t using work equipment for personal use (50%).

But does this really work? Business consultant Dennis Consorte maintains that monitoring employees through softwares work only in the short term, saying that it does not nip the problem in the bud. Instead, he encourages employers to search for the root of the problem. 

“As an employer, you could try blocking social media websites and prohibiting text messages and other personal communications, but people will always find a way around your rules,” he says. “Try to give your team a sense of purpose instead. Give people a reason to want to spend more time on their work, and they will spend less time on distractions.”

Based on the data from the survey a significant 14 per cent of employees are not informed about the tracking softwares in their work tools.

Consorte advises employers to fully inform their employees about monitoring systems. He said “a  failure to do so could cause the employee to feel their privacy has been invaded without consent, and they could lose trust in their employer.”

“Frame it in the most positive, yet truthful way possible,” he advises. “Your messaging should be that you trust your workers, and just want to verify how time is spent, in order to identify ways to improve productivity.”

Overall, using monitoring software appears to achieve what it is intended to do. 81 per cent of employers using monitoring software say they saw an increase in employee productivity after installing tracking softwares.

However, Consorte stressed that monitoring software may be motivating employees for the wrong reasons.

“Often when employers see a lift in employee productivity after installing monitoring software, it’s likely due to fear rather than inspiration,” he says.

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