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Will Workplace Surveillance Measures Remain After a Return to the Office?

  • Employers were increasingly likely to use performance monitoring tools during remote work setups
  • A transition to post-pandemic hybrid work models will likely lead to the continuance of this type of monitoring
  • Caution is needed to ensure that any monitoring is legal and does not negatively affect employee trust

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

Companies have long tracked employee productivity through punch clocks and other methods, and a majority of employers were using monitoring tools before the COVID-19 pandemic. These tools became more prevalent as many companies shifted to remote work arrangements due to the pandemic, and they are likely to remain in place as workers start to return to the office.

A recent article in Fast Company looks at this trend as well as its implications. Monitoring software has allowed employers to track an employee’s web traffic, e-mails, keystrokes, and other information to help gauge their productivity and output. Few employers are likely to disable these tools once they can monitor workers in person, and they will remain a popular monitoring method as companies adopt hybrid work arrangements that allow employees to work from home for part of the week.

The article says employers should take a cautious approach when using such monitoring tools. Remote work arrangements often result in employees working irregular hours or using personal devices for business matters, raising the risk that a company might improperly monitor personal communications.

Employers should also be open about any employee monitoring they do. This can help set clear expectations and also maintain a higher level of trust between employers and employees.

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