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When You Decide to Track Employees’ Productivity, Be Transparent About It

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Empathy has become one of the leadership qualities to focus on even before the Covid-19 pandemic. And this importance grew as the anxiety and uncertainty due to the global health scare increased, says Forbes

Now when the end of the pandemic seems to be near, managers need to stay in sync with their employees’ physical and mental well-being, especially now when the demand for the remote work option is soaring. 

Here you’ll find out how to run remote teams successfully, using advanced tools transparently and legally. This will help you achieve a fine balance between employees’ professional and personal space and time, focusing on their well-being.

Meeting Employees Needs in Digital Workplace

But expressing care and understanding for your employees may be a challenging task while communicating via different digital platforms. Communication involves emotions that can’t be conveyed via a screen during a Zoom meeting. 

What’s more important, managing remote employees requires creating a fine balance between their professional and personal life. This said your frequent check-ins to see how your employees are doing may be interpreted as micromanaging and intrusion of privacy. 

This is not only the case when communication tools are in question. 

Addressing Potential Productivity and Data Security Issues

Employers who have started managing remote teams over the past two years were concerned about employees’ productivity. They feared that increased freedom and flexibility of home offices would affect their productivity levels. This is why many businesses worldwide started investing in advanced user activity monitoring systems. By doing the same thing you can get answers to significant questions concerning system safety and  employee productivity like:

  • How safe is your vulnerable information?
  • Has its’ exposure to cyber threats increased?
  • Are your workers as productive as they were in the office?
  • How are they spending their time at work?

These valid questions may justify the implementation of an employee monitoring system into your workflow. However, you need to consider many legal and ethical issues to get the most out of the entire monitoring process, learning to value outcomes and results rather than just the amount of time spent at work.

But more importantly, you need to look at computer activity tracking from an employee perspective.

Employee Point of View

While some models of surveillance are expected in the office-based work environment, almost 50% of employees are unaware that their managers monitor their activities. Also, remote workers don’t expect to be monitored while working from home and may look at this as a rude intrusion of privacy. 

Even though homes turned into makeshift offices a couple of years ago, employees still consider them a safe place where their opinions, beliefs, and browsing histories will be out of their employers’ reach.

And this negative attitude towards the activity tracking process can be a challenging issue for business leaders who need to create an atmosphere based on trust in their company, making sure that their data is safe and employees highly productive at the same time. 

Are there ways to achieve all this without breaching employees’ trust or endangering your company’s success?

Yes. It’s possible to boost productivity by monitoring employees’ activities without intruding on their privacy and abusing their trust. But you need to conduct employee tracking within legal frames. You need to do it ethically, limiting the whole process on the company computers’ activities during work hours. And you need to be open and honest about the whole process, informing your employees about your intentions and expectations when it comes to monitoring.

Is the Remote Employee Monitoring Legal?

When it comes to America the answer is yes. Companies justify this act with the need to protect their assets. The monitoring process is regulated on state and federal levels, and the most restrictive law from 1986 prohibits employers from “intentionally intercepting their employees’ electronic communications, including email and instant messaging.”

However, this Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA – more info) allows for “business and consent exceptions.”

The business exception refers to the situation where a company has a legitimate purpose for implementing an employee monitoring app in the workflow, while the consent exemption requires your employee acceptance of the entire activity tracking process.

So if you want to use the employee monitoring app effectively, you need to take the following steps:

  • Host a meeting with your employees where you’ll explain what activities you plan to track, defining a strict time frame, i.e. work hours.
  • Focus on the goals that you want to achieve, like increased data protection, boosted productivity, and improved time management, emphasizing benefits for employees.
  • Create a clear and transparent employee monitoring policy focusing on your goals and employees’ privacy.

By doing this you won’t endanger crucial principles of trust and transparency needed for your company to thrive. More importantly, you’ll shed your employees’ doubts regarding privacy issues, helping them improve their performance, feeling safe rather than stressed out in a remote work environment.

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