Remote work is here to stay. However, more than half of tech workers have signaled that they would leave their organization if their remote work came with additional and more invasive digital monitoring. BI company, Morning Consult published a poll last week asking tech workers whether they would quit if their employers took actions to monitor them through keystrokes, screenshots, facial recognition technology, or recorded audio / video of the employee.
In all four scenarios, nearly half of employees indicated that they’d be out the door if any one of these individual practices were utilized.
Keeping tabs on employees is nothing new. Overall, employees understand that on company time and equipment, there is little expectation of privacy. Emails can be monitored, web browsing restricted, and outbound phone calls easily tracked.
Remote work has ushered in the desire to ensure that employees are on task while on company time. And legally, many companies are well within their right to set up advanced monitoring systems. But should they?
There has been little indication that remote workers are less productive than in-office employees. In fact, many remote workers have been more productive for their employers as they are able to avoid long commutes, water cooler gossip, and in-office interruptions. Yet, this population of the workforce is under scrutiny via mouse clicks and keystrokes.
In this tight labor market, the use of these monitoring technologies doesn’t align with attracting talent. It signals to current and future employees that you simply don’t trust them to get the job done without constant oversight.
Though some positions require set working hours, the increase in remote work has given more flexibility to complete work during off-hours, which was previously dead time during a commute. This frees up employees to run out to an appointment or pick up groceries without disrupting their workday or productivity.
Furthermore, facial recognition and audio / video recording is intrusive as it allows an employer to view an employee’s private dwelling. It opens up employees to scrutiny if they are working from their patio, in a Starbucks, or from a bedroom.
Overall, tech workers still largely control the hiring market. They are in high demand and this type of surveillance and microscopic oversight is a big turn off for nearly half of the surveyed workers. Attracting talent means trusting their ability to complete quality work on-time. There are more effective ways to evaluate work product and predict success than attempting to catch someone browsing Amazon during the workday.