How it feels to be under constant employee surveillance

30/05/2023 | The Guardian

The Guardian reports on the increasing adoption of employee monitoring software but asks whether it's a valuable tool to measure productivity. 

The article includes the example of Mae, who shares her experience of being monitored. Many remote workers, including Mae, are being monitored by their employers using software that takes screenshots of their screens every 10 minutes. Based on how much she types and moves her mouse, Mae's activity score hovers around 62% but drops to 0% during Zoom calls, despite her active participation. Mae's company uses Hubstaff, one of several monitoring tools available, with some offering webcam and audio recording. Mae reports feeling intense pressure due to the constant monitoring, resulting in dry eyes and headaches.

A recent Trades Union Congress (TUC) poll found that 60% of employees experienced tracking in the last year. Henry Parkes, a senior economist at the IPPR, warns surveillance technology can be used to exert power over employees in a way that wasn't possible before. There's potential for creep, where software is deployed for one purpose but can be used for other features, allowing employers to analyse what their employees are doing.

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Employee monitoring, webcam

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