While it is true that employee monitoring (sometimes called employee tracking) existed before the pandemic turned the working world upside-down, the vastly increased number of remote workers has meant traditional, in person management practices have gone out the window and employers are being forced to learn new methods to keep track of what their teams are up to and to ensure the continuance of effective workflow. Hence, employee monitoring. Now anything with the word “monitoring” in it sounds intrusive and you may find you get some push back from employees. The key is to be fully transparent and communicate effectively at all times. They may not like it at first but they’re going to have to get used to it. Especially since it is in large part, their choice. In a 2020 survey, only 15% of respondents said they intend to go back to the office full-time. So we all had better learn how to make things work remotely.
What is employee monitoring?
In short, employee monitoring is the process of using digital tools to collect relevant information related to an employee’s performance at the workplace including employee performance, and work in progress. It is a highly-effective way to improve workforce productivity by providing greater insight into not only when employees are working, but how they are working. Businesses use different monitoring methods to measure productivity, track attendance, assess behavior, ensure security, and collect proof of hours worked. The best employee monitoring provides benefits to both the owner/manager AND the employees. All, of course, with the aim of growing and enhancing the business.
5 Types of Employee Monitoring
- Internet & App Usage
Being able to see the URLs your team visits while on the clock can be helpful for addressing potential productivity concerns. Too much time surfing will definitely eat into productivity. From a security standpoint, employees that are handling sensitive company data or patient information are putting themselves and their company at risk by visiting certain sites. Data collected by monitoring desktop application usage can highlight how much time people dedicated to productive work, when the computer was passive and which applications have the most usage.
- Screen Video and Capture
Managers who want to be able to see work in progress can view screenshots of their teams’ screens while working to ensure everyone is focusing on the right priorities.
- Network Monitoring
a process that involves analyzing all the incoming and outgoing traffic from your office network. A network monitoring system can also check if your employees are accessing unproductive sites, like social media, during work.
- Time and File Tracking
Employees can record exactly how long they worked each day and, depending on the tool, how long they worked on a specific project or task. It’s easy to see what was worked on that day. Managers can use time tracking data to create better estimates and budgets in the future.
Keyloggers record every keystroke made on a computer in a readable file. The intent is to keep employees focused on work-related tasks. I think this is my least favourite way to track employees. First, anyone who reviews the data can read any passwords the employee enters. Second, employees cannot tell if a keylogger is recording their keystrokes or not. This lack of transparency makes workers nervous and can become a real trust issue.
So there is a quick introduction to employee tracking and some of its methods. To get employee buy-in and to foster trust within the organization, remember this: the best employee monitoring tools give the employee access to all of their data, so they see everything their manager sees. With nothing hidden from them, it’s clear the intention is not to invade their privacy.
Stay tuned for Employee Monitoring Quick Hit Two: Advantages, Pros & Cons.