Are Employee Monitoring Tools Too Invasive?

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A recent study reveals that million of US employers utilize invasive digital tracking tools to monitor their employees, and that number is only expected to rise in the following years.

As more and more employees opt for working remotely out of the office, and out of their employers line of sight, the use of monitoring tools has become more popular than ever.

The statistics reveal that “one in three employers now has the tools to track the exact locations of their employees, which is a 44.85% increase in the last two years,” said Andrew Fennell, Director at StandOut, the company that headed the study.

Out of the monitoring programs most often used by employees, the most popular security and surveillance features were time tracking (96%), taking screenshots of an employee’s computers (78%), video monitoring (42%), tracking by GPS location (34%) and recording an employee’s audio through their devices internal microphone (8%).

What’s most disconcerting is that 38% of those tools are being used in stealth mode without the worker’s awareness or explicit permission. More than 80% of those employees are being monitored in real-time, according to a report by Cyber News.

“Employees’ most private conversations could be recorded in their homes without their prior consent or knowledge,” Fennell said.

While monitoring tools are helpful at determining whether an employee is truly working or stealing company time, many argue that there invasive tools violate worker privacy and safety and might even negatively impact the employee’s mental health. Some are concerned that the data collected by these tools can be used for nefarious means by employers or other company partners.

While the ethics of employee monitoring tools will likely continue to be a divisive topic, it is certainly here to stay.