Work from Home: Trust but Use Monitoring Software

May 19, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps offices closed and employees continue to work from home, bosses want to be sure their subordinates are working. According to the Washington Post, bosses are “replicating the office” using webcams, microphones, and surveillance software says the article, “Managers Turn To Surveillance Software, Always-On Webcams To Ensure Employees Are (Really) Working From Home.”

Harking back to the chatrooms of yesteryear, employees log into digital work spaces with customizable avatars and chatroom cubicles with instructions to keep webcams and microphones on all day. The idea of the digital workspace designed by Pragli will encourage spontaneous conversation. Some quickly adapt to the technology change, others have difficulty.

While some companies do not replicate the office with programs, they are using other tools such as always on webcams, check-ins, and mandatory digital meetings. There is the concern that companies are being invasive:

“Company leaders say the systems are built to boost productivity and make the quiet isolation of remote work more chipper, connected and fun. But some workers said all of this new corporate surveillance has further blurred the lines between their work and personal lives, amping up their stress and exhaustion at a time when few feel they have the standing to push back.”

Since the COVID-19 forced the American workforce into quarantine, companies want to confirm their workers’ productivity and report on how they are spending their business hours. There has also been an increase in the amount of time Americans spend working each day.

InterGuard is a software that can be hidden on computers and creates a log of everything a worker did during the day. The software records everything a worker does as frequently as every five seconds. It ranks the apps and Web sites as “productive” and “unproductive,” then tallies a “productivity score.”

Many employees do not like the surveillance software and cite that the need to confirm they are actually working disrupts their work flow. Pragli, on the other hand, says the replication of human interaction brings employees closer and allows them to connect more frequently.

A new meaning for the phrase “trust but verify.”

Whitney Grace, May 19, 2020

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