Employee monitoring has become increasingly popular as more and more companies transition to remote work. 

With the rise of digital communication and technology, it's easier than ever for employers to monitor their employees' activities. However, this practice raises concerns about privacy and trust. 

In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of employee monitoring and how companies can strike a balance between privacy and productivity – especially while managing global teams. 

The 4 major pros of employee monitoring

Here are some of the biggest advantages of employee monitoring. 

Increased productivity

One of the primary benefits of employee monitoring is increased productivity. When employees know you're watching them, they're more likely to stay on task and avoid distractions. This is especially important for remote workers who may be tempted to engage in non-work-related activities. 

As a result, monitoring can help to keep employees focused on their work and improve overall productivity management. (For more remote work productivity tips, check out this remote work productivity guide)  

Better time management

Monitoring can also help companies to better manage their time. By tracking how much time employees spend on different tasks, employers can identify areas where time is wasted and adjust. 

This can lead to more efficient workflows and, ultimately, more productive employees. (Want to help your remote team manage their time better? Here are eight unique time management tips for remote teams)

Improved performance

Monitoring can provide valuable insights into employee performance, tracking metrics like: 

  • Active time
  • Neutral time
  • Response time
  • Accuracy
  • Completion rates
  • And more

By tracking these metrics, employers can identify areas where employees may need additional training or support. This can help improve employee performance which benefits the company as a whole.

Enhanced security

Monitoring can also help companies maintain a secure work environment. By monitoring employee activity, employers can identify potential security threats and take action to prevent them. 

This can include monitoring for unauthorized access to sensitive information, identifying possible phishing attacks, and monitoring other security breaches. (Here are seven other remote work cybersecurity practices to keep your remote team safe). 

The cons of employee monitoring

There are also some disadvantages to employee monitoring that employers must consider. 

Invasion of privacy

One of the primary concerns about employee monitoring is the invasion of privacy. Employees may feel that their privacy is violated if you constantly monitor their activities. This can lead to feelings of mistrust and resentment and may result in decreased job satisfaction and employee turnover – and no one wants that! 

Thankfully, many of today's employee monitoring software options have features like blurred screens and optional on/off features to give employees privacy when needed. 

Decreased trust

Monitoring can also lead to decreased trust between employers and employees. Employees may feel their employer doesn't trust them to do their job. This can lead to a breakdown in communication and decreased employee morale. Trust is critical in remote teams, so it's essential to communicate the benefits of employee monitoring to your employees. 

Increased stress

Monitoring can also lead to increased stress among employees. When employees know they're being monitored, they may feel like they're constantly under surveillance. This can increase anxiety and stress, leading to decreased productivity and absenteeism.

However, employee monitoring isn't usually the cause of remote worker stress. At most, it exacerbates underlining issues. Check out these tips to reduce stress for your remote workers so that employee monitoring doesn't tip them over the edge. 

Balancing privacy and productivity

Obviously, the benefits of employee monitoring are clear – especially in remote teams. However, you can't ignore how it could make your employees feel. So, how do you strike a balance between privacy and productivity when it comes to employee monitoring? 

Here are six tips to get you started:

1. Set clear expectations

The first step is to set clear expectations. You should be clear about your policies and why you have them. This can help to alleviate privacy concerns and establish a foundation of trust between employers and employees.

2. Be transparent

Employers should also be transparent about their monitoring practices. This can include informing employees about the specific types of monitoring that are being used, how the data will be used, and who will have access to it. By being transparent, employers can help to establish trust and build a positive workplace culture.

3. Be clear about your goals

Companies should have clear goals for their monitoring efforts, such as improving productivity or identifying potential security risks. By being clear about the purpose of monitoring, companies can avoid any misunderstandings or concerns about overreach.

4. Focus on outcomes, not activities

Rather than monitoring every single action or keystroke, consider focusing on the outcomes you're trying to achieve. For example, instead of tracking how long an employee spends on a specific website, companies can monitor whether the employee is meeting their productivity goals.

5. Use the right tools

There are many different tools available for employee monitoring. It's important to choose the right tools for your specific needs and ensure any tools you use are secure and compliant with relevant privacy laws. (Here at Outstaffer, we offer Employee Monitoring and Time & Attendance Tracking software to our clients.) 

6. Respect employee privacy

Companies should respect employees' right to privacy and ensure that any monitoring is done in a minimally invasive way. For example, companies can avoid collecting personal information, such as the content of emails or private messages, and can limit monitoring to work-related activities only.

Balance the pros and cons of employee monitoring with Outstaffer

Employee monitoring has its benefits and drawbacks. While it can increase productivity, improve security, and ensure compliance, it can also compromise privacy and lead to employee dissatisfaction. 

That's why it's important to implement a monitoring program that balances privacy and productivity. By doing so, you can maximize the benefits while maintaining the trust and morale of your employees.

As an Employer of Record(EOR) and #WorkFromAnywhere technology company, we make it easy to find, hire, manage, and equip global employees in a few clicks. 

Additionally, we offer employee monitoring software to our clients, making it easy to monitor productivity – without being overly invasive. You choose the preferences that work best for your remote team.   

To learn more about how Outstaffer can help you scale and monitor your remote team, schedule your demo today. 

Apr 6, 2023
Talent Shortage

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