Since the pandemic, small businesses have been forced to change their working patterns. Theyâ€™ve had to shift how their employees operate. Remote work is very much here to stay, and employees can both benefit from the work-from-home and hybrid work revolution. Cost savings is the main driver for supporting remote work. Employee morale and productivity also can be higher when employers grant this flexibility.
Statistics show that 60% support hybrid office/remote working, but around 40% prefer their staff to work from the office. The main concern that many small business owners cite when considering remote working is productivity. Managers may find it more challenging to make sure employees are doing what they should do. The remote and hybrid work environment has led to the rise of employee monitoring tools. Such tools have mixed reviews from employees. Before deciding whether to use this type of software, it is best to understand the pros and cons of employee monitoring.
What is Employee Monitoring Software?
Employee monitoring software tracks digital movements. This can include everything from general clock-in clock-out tracking to taking screenshots of an employeeâ€™s computer several times per hour. Tracking tools like Activtrak and Hubstaff track many activities on a personâ€™s computer. The information is then sent in a daily or weekly report to the company.
Items that such tools can track are:
Screenshots of the desktops used and how long in use
Tracking can be visible, so the employee knows about it, or the tracking can be completely hidden from the employee. This type of monitoring can benefit a small business that is worried about productivity. However, it can also alienate good employees, demoralise, and destroy trust.
Here are some Pros and Cons to consider:
Understand Time Inputs
Knowing exactly how much time employees spend on a project can help with future ROI projections.
Reduce Time Wasting
About half of monitored employees spend three or more hours per day on non-work activities. When employees know that their boss is monitoring their app usage, theyâ€™re less likely to go AWOL.
Billing Time Tracking
If you invoice your clients based on time, Monitoring Tools can help capture the team's time correctly, so itâ€™s billed properly.
The average cost of a tracker program is Â£10.00 per user per month. Additional resources need to be harnessed for managing and reporting on the results.
Hurts Team Morale
Many employees feel they are put in a cage when monitoring is introduced. Morale can plummet, which takes productivity and trust along with it.
Activity isnâ€™t Productivity
Many tools simply report on keyboard and mouse activity. But what if the employee must solve a workflow issue and needs to use their brain for a few hours, not their mouse?
Good Employees Leave
Half of the surveyed employees said they would consider quitting if their boss tracked them.
What are the legal implications of monitoring employees?
Employer monitoring of employees is legal. However, there are boundaries employers should operate within. The legal powers available to employers are in a state of development. However, the employer may be on the firm legal ground if it can rely on the employment contract. Modern employment contracts and policies should include provisions detailing any monitoring that will take place. A good monitoring policy will set boundaries, inform employees what they can and cannot do, highlight activities detrimental to the business, and set out the type of monitoring the employer may undertake. Furthermore, an employer has a responsibility to store the information obtained via monitoring.
Ensure that you fully understand the pros and cons of such a solution before investing. Itâ€™s not a decision to be taken lightly, but if you do decide to implement employee monitoring software, the reasons for and the benefits to the organisation should be clearly communicated to staff well in advance.