After COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in the United States in March 2020, much of the workforce left the office and began working from home in a new, remote environment.
Working remotely has posed many challenges for companies not previously acclimated to working from home regularly. Many employers have turned to employee monitoring software to gain insight into their workers’ day-to-day work while they’re not in the office.
While this monitoring may be well-intentioned, aiming to foster productivity in the workplace and pinpoint potential remote distractions, there are several negative consequences employers must face if they choose to implement employee monitoring.
This article will discuss 3 significant negative effects of incorporating employee monitoring software into your processes while your employees work from home.
Employees Don’t Feel More Productive When Monitored
It’s likely that your main goal for employee monitoring software, as an employer, is to increase productivity within your workplace. However, most employees say that the implementation of monitoring doesn’t have a noticeable impact on their individual productivity.
Employee monitoring software was developed to measure how your employees are spending their days. That means that you can keep track of their daily progress without checking on them in the office or devoting time to frequent meetings. In an ideal setting, monitoring would save time and money for employers.
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Another employer goal while remote is to improve productivity by diagnosing areas for improvement. The US Bureau of Labor noticed declining productivity in recent years, which might encourage employers to leverage monitoring software as a means of tracking productivity.
In terms of productivity and employee monitoring, there’s a disconnect between employer intentions and employee sentiment.
A recent survey conducted by Clutch indicates that 72% of employers believe that employee monitoring software would have no effect on their productivity. Additionally, only 13% of employees believe that the software would make them more productive, as employers intend.
This productivity disconnect between employers and their workers may indicate that employee monitoring isn’t the right way to go about productivity problems. Companies that opt for alternative solutions typically select one of the following methods of boosting productivity:
- Scheduling check-in meetings with a mentor or manager to discuss daily progress
- Implement self-monitoring tools like Asana
- Discuss productivity as a team
- Regularly review or edit employee work
Allowing your employees to take productivity into their own hands for the betterment of the team is more likely to inspire them to improve time management skills than employee monitoring software, which puts the onus on the employer to address productivity.
Companies should encourage struggling employees to take responsibility for their professional growth themselves rather than monitoring and tracking progress for them.
According to the employees themselves, employee monitoring software doesn’t provide them with the sense of encouragement needed to improve productivity.
Tracking Software Has Negative Effects on Morale
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but people don’t enjoy the feeling of being watched. Employee monitoring software has this effect on employees, which can decrease morale within your organization.
When an employer implements employee monitoring software, it signals to employees that the company doesn’t trust their ability to work autonomously.
This may make employees question their security in their current position at their company, increasing their likelihood of overthinking minor decisions and decreasing their overall happiness at your company.
According to Clutch, only 10% of employees would trust their employer more if employee monitoring software was implemented.
Given the negative effects on morale, tracking employees may not be the right decision for employers aiming to improve processes while remote.
Employees who are happy in their current position and have trust in their employers are workers that become loyal to the company and are less likely to leave the business after professional growth.
Businesses hoping to hold onto their top talent may be making a mistake by damaging employee morale through employee monitoring.
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Tenured Workers are Likely to Show Most Concern with Monitoring
Companies wishing to keep strong performers should be especially focused on holding onto tenured workers with a strong understanding of your company and its history.
The recent survey by Clutch found that older workers are more concerned about providing their employers with access to their personal data than younger employees.
Particularly, those ages 35-54 were the most likely to show concern about sharing information through employee monitoring (31%).
Why is this significant? Your older employees are more likely to be your more tenured, experienced teammates. They’re often the mentors and teachers, passing industry knowledge onto new hires.
These tenured teammates play a large role in your company and its culture, even outside of their core role at your company. By causing them concern and negatively effecting their morale, you risk losing reliable, seasoned talent that you’ve been counting on for years.
Increased turnover due to distrust can have considerable, long-lasting effects on your company culture. This will deter those searching for jobs to apply to open positions and challenge you to keep your employees for long.
Tracking your employees while they’re remote poses potential culture shifts, turnover, and employee distrust with your more tenured workers.
Employee Monitoring Cons Outweigh the Pros
While many employers utilize monitoring software to track employee behavior, hoping to increase productivity, employees feel that monitoring has no effect on their productivity.
Additionally, tracking productivity could have detrimental effects to your employees’ morale, encouraging them to disengaged while remote and leave the company earlier than they would’ve otherwise. Companies should be most wary of these effects in older employees, who show the most concern about being remotely monitored by their employer.