When the world grinded to a horrific stop due to the pandemic ravaging the world, employers had no choice but to scramble for solutions for their employees who have been effectively put under house arrest. Reaching for remote work monitoring software is one of the most common practices as it is an unprecedented move on governments all over the world to impose a nation-wide lockdown. However, just because you’re using a remote tracking software doesn’t mean that you cannot be ethical while placing your employees under surveillance.
Perhaps one of the key factors that many employees feel like they have no control over their own privacy is having that choice taken away from them. Instead of expecting employees simply to roll over and accept this new mandate, it might be more humane to talk to them individually about why the company is implementing these changes and what it means for the company.
There are multiple ways that employers can approach their employees. One method would be to tell them that because they are new to remote work, they want to ensure that their employees stay on track and the software may be a probationary tool. Once an employee proves that they are certainly able to work independently, the tracking will no longer be required. Perhaps they would have to meet certain KPIs or be consistent in their results. Whatever the means, it presents employees with a choice.
It is also crucial for employers to tell their employees exactly what they will be tracking. Perhaps there is leeway for a quick 5-minute break in between tasks that while logged, will not affect their performance reviews. Setting KPIs and enforcing it with tracking systems may be much more ethical rather than expecting them to work round the clock without breaks – even at the office, the average employee spends 14 minutes in the washroom, so having 15 mins a day for employers to scroll on social media and what not isn’t going to be detrimental to the company.
For companies that are reluctant to pull back on surveillance, they can also offer their employees to return to the office perhaps for two weeks every month, or it can be a bi-monthly event. In any event, it also places the ball in the employee’s court. They can choose to work in the office without any tracking software present or they can continue to work at home while being tracked. There are so many solutions that can be implemented. While this means that employers will have to talk to each individual employee about their needs, it will also guarantee a much happier environment where employees can grow with the company rather than looking for a different job where they may feel more appreciated.
The truth is that working in an office creates camaraderie that you cannot find in a home working environment. Celebrating employees makes them feel seen and appreciated and they may be more keen to overlook any tracking software that they need to use because there is a sense of belonging and kinship with the right bonding activities. As you know what they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. In the office sense, when you’re placing pressure on your employees to perform well but don’t show them the appreciation that human beings on a whole crave, you’ll be setting your company up for failure.