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The Dos and Don’ts of Employee Monitoring

In the new remote and hybrid workplace landscape, it’s natural that employers would want to keep tabs on their employees to ensure they are being productive with their time. This has led to more companies than ever investing in software solutions to monitor their employees while out of the office. However, new research suggests that this type of monitoring can do more harm than good.

Besides the obvious privacy implications that this might bring into question, let’s go over how monitoring your employees too closely can create resentment and discourage them from performing their best work.

Examining Employee Agency

ComputerWorld interviewed one of the authors of a study called “Stripped of Agency: The Paradoxical Effect of Employee Monitoring on Deviance.” Chase Thiel, an associate professor of management at the University of Wyoming, suggests that one of the big reasons that people tend to act out when they know they are being monitored is because monitoring can make employees feel “robotic,” as if their autonomy and individuality have been removed or compromised.

How to Effectively Monitor Employees

The report by Thiel found that there are several questions employers should be asking themselves related to employee monitoring before they commit to a monitoring strategy. Here are just a few of them.

How Necessary is Monitoring?

Depending on your organization’s current level of operations, there may not even be a need to monitor your employees. If employee behavior is not a problem, then why create one that doesn’t exist, right?

Why Are You Monitoring Employees?

If you start monitoring your employees with the expectation that they are wasting time or cheating you out of your hard-earned profits, then you are naturally going to monitor your team in the wrong kind of way. Sometimes it is necessary for safety or security purposes, or even for reporting purposes to provide constructive criticism, but if you are monitoring for the sake of monitoring, then your employees could feel targeted in ways that are counterproductive.

How Are You Monitoring Employees?

This ties into how necessary monitoring truly is. Depending on your organization and its needs, you may not need as advanced software monitoring systems as others in your industry might. Some invasive software, however, like keystroke capturing and other types of monitoring, might be just a bit too much for your employees to truly feel good about you as an employer. In other words, the study finds that solutions that capture more than just problematic behavior are more effective.

Overall, the study posits the question, “What does the employer get from this solution?” and “What does the employee get from this solution?” If you can answer the second question and the solution is for the employees’ benefit, then you are on your way to delivering an appropriate and helpful monitoring solution for your team. bSmart Services can equip your business with the tools it needs to keep productivity up, regardless of your stance on employee monitoring. With appropriate software solutions in place, your team can be productive both in and out of the office, remote or hybrid. To learn more about the solutions we can offer, reach out to us at 561-708-5359.

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