Productivity monitored from close


Today, methods to monitor employees are spread everywhere in the working industry. Hospitals have installed sensors to detect nurses’ handwashing practices as they can also relay their location on the floor at all times. Restaurants are using technology within the servers’ tablets to observe each of their waitstaff’s sales in real-time from a central location. Let’s not forget that to boost efficiency and safety, Uber Technologies Inc. has monitored that track speed pattern. At present, office workers are also being monitored via computer software.

What does the employee monitoring software do? 

It allows the employer to spy on his employees during working hours through their computers. To do so, the software relay the employee’s computer information to the company administrator which has access to the majority of these data. Depending on the software, screenshots of the employee’s screen are provided to the employer at intervals of every hour, every 15 minutes or even every 10 seconds. Some have the capacity to block the access to social media and send the website links that the employee visited including how long that employee spent on it. It essentially provides additional information on the employees’ productivity.

The software installed on the employee’s computer gives the companies a better understanding of their workforce through detailed information. It also allows them to increase productivity, safety, and security by monitoring their employees’ work throughout their full day of work.

American Management Association found that 80% of the major companies monitor the internet usage, phone, and email of their employees.

In addition, for more detailed data, Gartner study on companies based in the U.S., Europe, and Canada found that:

  • 22% of employers collect employee-movement data
  •  17% collect work-computer usage data
  •  13% collect employee fitness data

As for the future, 57 % of businesses worldwide are planning on monitoring: employee movement, internal texts, and biometric readings in the next couple of. years.

Arguments Against:

“Trust is broken as soon as tracking methods are put in place.”

Studies have shown that workers are more productive when there are trusted by the company and the person in charge. As revealed by a survey of CEOs by PWC, 55% of business leaders believe a lack of trust in the workplace constitutes a foundational threat to their company.

Now if we compare people who do not trust the company they’re working for with workers who do, the Harvard Business Review found that people at high-trust companies report 106% more energy at work, 76% more engagement, 74% less stress,  50% higher productivity, 40% less burnout, 29% more satisfaction with their lives and 13% fewer sick days

Being monitored is an invasion of privacy”

Being constantly under surveillance at work feels intrusive for many; 25 percent of employees think that is is unacceptable for their employers to analyze the text in their emails. Sadly, for workers who do not agree with the methods, laws allow companies to monitor their staff as long as the conditions are respected.

In the USA:  The Employers have the right to monitor their employees as they perform their duties. There is no federal law in the US that requires employers to notify staff on being monitored.

In EUROPE: The European Court of Human Rights states that employers have the right to monitor their employees as they perform their duties; however employers must provide notice to employees prior to monitoring their online communications.

In AUSTRALIA: Workplace monitoring Act of 2005 states that an employer can monitor an employee’s computer usage only if the employers are informing their staff on the surveillance put in place.


Monitoring employee is becoming a very popular method which can increase productivity, safety, and security. But, its impact on the level of trust in companies is undeniable. The idea is coherent but the methods in which managers use the tools can go against the intent. The process of installing monitoring software must be beneficial for the entire company and not only provide employers more data on their employees.  /


Published by Néo

P.D.W. Administrator & Business Student at ESSEC Business School, France.

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