Along with the surge of people working from home or in hybrid situations over the last few years, there has also been an increase in employers looking for ways to monitor their employees’ work activities to ensure they actually ARE working when remote.
This is no surprise given the new “quiet quitting” trend that has now evolved into “Bare Minimum Mondays” and “Try Less Tuesdays.” Sadly, some employees are taking advantage of working remotely as a way of working less.
Of course, not all remote employees are slackers – but how can an employer know the difference? That’s where tools like Teramind and ActivTrak come into play. These are software tools that can be installed on employees’ workstations and laptops to monitor their activity, both while in the office and remote.
Not only will these tools provide insights into productivity and where employees are spending their time, an employer can also see when someone checks in to work and leaves for the day. These apps can also help in ensuring employees aren’t surfing inappropriate websites during work hours using company resources.
While many people are against monitoring, it’s perfectly legal in the US, provided this is for work-related activities on workplace devices. Monitoring laws do vary by state, so you should always check with an HR attorney on any employee-related monitoring. While there is no requirement to gain consent on a federal level, some states require that you establish consent before monitoring.
It’s also legal to monitor company-owned devices outside of work hours, including Internet traffic, search terms, websites visited, GPS geolocation and content viewed, to name a few things. If you issue your employees’ phones, you are legally allowed to monitor them as well. It’s even legal to monitor your employees’ own personal devices if you have a BYOD (bring your own device) to work, provided those devices are used for work purposes.
If you are thinking of rolling out employee-monitoring software, here are a few recommendations.
So, while it’s legal to monitor employees, you still need to be mindful of employment laws and data and privacy protection of the employees you monitor.