Most employers are monitoring employees’ online activity. ‘Tattleware’ makes it worse

Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The thought of your boss checking in on you every minute just to make sure you’re still working at your desk may sound like a nightmare scenario, but for many, it’s their reality.

This tool is already being used by employers all over the country with remote workers and is becoming more common as the pandemic drags on.

In fact, a survey from earlier this year found 78% of employers reported using employee monitoring software to track employee performance and/or online activity.

However, taking that ability to monitor your employees and using it to constantly keep tabs on them has several less than flattering names, with “tattleware” and “bossware” being among them.

Texas-based ActiveOps designs this type of monitoring software. Its CEO Spencer O’Leary said has productive uses, but companies can also abuse it.

“Some organizations have decided they want to measure every second of every minute of every day of an employees’ working time,” he said. “They’re the type of organization that wants to entrap their workforce.”

Unsurprisingly, employees don’t like this.

That same survey that tracked how many employers monitor employees online found that 59% report feeling stress and/or anxiety about their employers doing just that.

“Employees vote with their feet,” O’Leary said. “Some employers have decided not to tell their employees that they’re doing these things when they do find out, and they will, they’re just voting with their feet and leave to work for somebody else.”

O’Leary said it’s much more valuable to simply measure what gets done by the end of the day, rather than whether or not an employee is constantly sitting at their desk.

“Production, how much work I get done, and well-being, making sure the employees are okay,” he said. “If employers do that, I think this level of monitoring can be a real positive experience for everybody.”

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