Researchers Release Findings On Employer Spying

( Installing time or attendance-tracking software on employees’ computers has become a common way for employers to make sure their workers are productive on the job. However, a recent study reveals that this same tracking software also has the capability of spying on workers in other ways as well.

The resume-help site StandOut CV conducted a study that compared the data collection features in thirty-two of the most popular software for employee monitoring and found that 75 percent of the tools provided can also keep tabs on a worker’s screens. This would allow employers to monitor which apps or websites an employee uses.

Additionally, 59 percent can also monitor keystrokes and mouse movements. And nearly half of these tracking tools can run in a stealth mode meaning that employers can deploy this tracking software on company-owned computers without the employee’s knowledge.

The companies who make this kind of tracking software – including Hubstaff, Time Doctor, Teramind, and Interguard – all say that the pandemic has been a boon to business as more and more Americans were working remotely from home. StandOut CV’s study also details just how invasive this software has become as companies compete to provide the most comprehensive monitoring features available.

Among the monitoring tools studied by StandOut CV, some are even more insidious in how they monitor workers. Though used less frequently than others, 22 percent of those programs can also access a device’s camera to take pictures of their workers, 19 percent allow for GPS tracking, and another 9 percent can listen in on an employee through the computer’s microphones.

Research has shown that employee monitoring can be beneficial when employers are open and transparent about it, and if workers believe it will improve their work. But at the same time, this kind of invasive monitoring can create a tense work environment which can lead to employee burnout. It can also undermine an employee’s motivation to put in extra effort for a company.

Also at issue are concerns of privacy especially if an employer is using this monitoring software to collect personal data. Discrimination may also be of concern if employers or managers target only specific workers for this level of monitoring.