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78% of Employers Are Using Remote Work Tools to Spy on You. Here’s a More Effective (and Ethical) Approach to Tracking Employee Productivity.

Research and common sense show that the practice does far more harm than good

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78% of employers use software to spy on employees. But the research — and common sense — shows that this tempting practice does far more harm than good. And 83% of employers acknowledge that it’s ethically questionable. When you spy on your people, you trade trust, culture and morale for sketchy data and productivity theater.

Work-from-home and hybrid models are here to stay. Companies everywhere are investing millions in digital employee experience (DEX), which reduces IT friction and makes employees happier and more productive. Separately, the same remote and hybrid shift has encouraged companies to deploy so-called productivity surveillance technologies. These have the opposite effect and even punish those who allegedly waste company time.

DEX and productivity surveillance are very different. DEX helps employees and their companies, while surveillance harms both. What’s more, data from productivity surveillance is, ironically, a terrible measure of productivity. Many companies have good justifications for specific, security and compliance monitoring practices. But we shouldn’t let productivity surveillance hide in the shadow of necessary measures that prevent disasters like data breaches.

What’s productivity surveillance, and what does it measure?

Leaders are worried about productivity. 85% blame hybrid work for obscuring whether employees are being productive, even though 87% of employees report they’re more productive working from home.

Productivity surveillance includes things like taking screenshots throughout the day, logging keystrokes and clicks, analyzing message frequency and length and tracking website usage. All in order to measure, safeguard and (managers hope) increase worker productivity.

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