In this day and age, technology is rapidly advancing. We are constantly being bombarded by new innovations that all the time. Most of these inventions were conceived with the intention to improve upon the existing infrastructure or system. One such innovation is employee digital monitoring programs.
Employee Digital monitoring programs are the natural extensions of employee time tracking software. We as a species have come a long way since the times of sundials. Now we have applications that can easily track our work hours, generate productivity reports, and even monitor employees in real-time.
But should these monitoring apps be supported? Are they violating our basic human rights? In this article, we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of employee digital monitoring programs to let you decide for yourself whether they should be supported or not? But before that, let’s first discuss these time monitoring apps in general.
Brief Overview of Time Tracking Apps
Since ancient times, people have been tracking time through various different methods. Our ancestors used to observe celestial bodies and invented peculiar devices like the sundials. We’ve come a long way since then and now use time tracking apps to efficiently keep track of time.
Before the advent of personal computers, employees had to physically clock in/clock out of a time clock. This machine was invented in the late 1880s by Willard Le Grand Bundy. When the patent for his time recorder (the predecessor to modern time tracking) was approved, Bundy started a business that manufactured these machines that would record employee attendance.
Bundy’s company later merged with various other businesses to form the International Time Recorder Company (ITR). And this particular company was the actual forerunner of IBM.
As the name suggests, a time tracking app can help users accurately track their time.
Effective time management can help us meet deadlines, avoid stress & anxiety, improve productivity & efficiency, and above all else, make extra time for ourselves. We can also maintain a work-life balance by keeping track of our time.
Today, time tracking apps can be found in almost every industry. Workplaces that need to use computers or mobile devices all the time are wholeheartedly embracing these apps. Many companies have also started using employee time management software to monitor their employees.
Employee digital monitoring programs are popular for a reason. Some benefits of monitoring employee activities include:
- Helping uncover sensitive problems, like harassment.
- Reducing or preventing theft.
- Discovering where workload may need to be redistributed.
- Helping monitor and ensure that safe practices are being followed.
- Reducing instances of employees wasting company time, as they are aware that they’re being monitored and are then less likely to do so.
- Highlighting bottlenecks or areas where employees spend more time than required, which can allow the employers to review the process and improve upon it.
- Allowing employers to monitor employees’ work activities to ensure they’re being productive and following the rules.
- Tracking hours worked on specific tasks, leading to an increase in accuracy for invoicing
- Helping with recordkeeping, such as tracking employee time, projects, tasks, etc.
- Monitoring customer interactions to ensure policies are being adhered to and customers are being treated well.
Many people don’t like employee digital monitoring and consider it a hindrance of sorts. Some drawbacks of monitoring employee activities include:
- Employees feeling vulnerable because their privacy has been devalued or violated.
- Difficulty in retaining employees if monitoring seems intrusive.
- Monitoring being perceived as a signal of lack of trust, which can breed resentment and reduce employee morale and productivity.
- The line between work and home getting blurred; most people often use the same devices for both, so when does monitoring go too far.
- Fear of important data being misused if it lands in the wrong hands.
- Legal issues to contend with to ensure employers remain within legal rights and respect their employees’ rights. The more counties, states, or countries employers operate in, the more likely these regulations will differ in each area.
- Monitoring programs only being useful if they are actually scrutinized, which takes time and money.
- Modern surveillance creating a false sense of security, which is actually a great risk in and of itself.
Future of Digital Monitoring Programs
Digital monitoring programs will keep on evolving as long as our workplaces keep on changing. Lots of new features will pop up but as long as they don’t violate employees’ basic privacy rights and help increase overall productivity, their demand will be as high as ever.
With a general understanding of what employee monitoring programs are capable of and their various advantages and disadvantages, it should be clear whether these programs should be supported or not.
Like most business technologies, employee monitoring programs have the potential to streamline operations and usher in a new era of growth for companies. But, if the technology is being mishandled or misused then it has the potential to spectacularly backfire on employers.