CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – As the pandemic persists, many workers are still plugging away from home.
2020 forced many workers home to their makeshift offices.
A recent survey found that 68% of workers would prefer a hybrid model post-pandemic.
Many companies began to search for ways to keep tabs on employees and ensure they were on task.
Spencer O’Leary is the CEO of ActiveOps-North America. He says his software focuses on performance and the well-being of employees.
“We design and we build and we sell a piece of software that monitors what employees do during the day and the purpose and the reason that most organizations choose Active Ops is that we take a very different take on how that data’s used; we even train and coach managers and how to use that data appropriately,” said O’Leary.
It’s safe to assume that everything you do and possibly say is being monitored, especially on company property, but more and more companies have installed surveillance software called Bossware or Tattleware to track your every move.
“It can use your camera to take a photo of you every 30 seconds to a minute to make sure you’re at your desk. It can log all of your keystrokes to make sure you’re doing the right thing as you go through your day,” he said.
There is a wide-scale boom in worker surveillance– and one that’s poised to become a standard feature of life on the job.
“Whether it’s Bossware or Tattleware, it’s less to do about the technology, because this isn’t something new and isn’t data that’s not already available, but how an organization or more importantly, how an individual manager thinks it’s appropriate or inappropriate to use that data in terms of measuring, monitoring and managing people,” he said.
When companies are suffering from worker shortages, there can be a huge downside to all of this.
“If they use it to spy if they use it to micromanage their employees, either two things will happen: as humans, people will find a way to get around the system, or those employees will vote with their feet,” he said.
So is all of this legal?
Cleveland civil attorney Tera Coleman said it varies state to state, but companies are generally within their legal rights.
“It is not illegal for private employers to monitor or conduct surveillance of their employees,” said Coleman.
When it comes to an invasion of privacy — that also goes out the window.
“Our constitutional right to privacy, that is to protect us from the intrusion of the government,” she said.
However, whether businesses are gauging productivity or trying to protect brand secrets, there are some restrictions.
“It’s not a free-for-all. There are some limits. You cannot target minorities with your monitoring,” she said.
Coleman offered this advice to employees: “On work device, only do your work.”
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