What Are the Pros & Cons of Digital Employee Monitoring?
Knowing the exact or approximate number of hours employees spend on their workstations to be productive is key to engendering and sustaining the growth of a business.
As COVID-19 pushed businesses to adopt remote working, employees also took matters into their hands, claiming rights to work remotely or hybrid. Almost every business has at least one staff working remotely. In fact, an Upwork report found that 68% of hiring managers opt for remote working.
However, while this system accrues some benefits, it also presents some other disadvantages that could prove detrimental to the company’s growth. One such disadvantage is a potential drop in productivity and work quality levels. As managers could no longer directly monitor employees, there needed to be a way they could, and there were not many systems available at the time.
This brought a rise in the number of digital employee monitoring and various features added. Also, many businesses saw it as a logical way to overcome the challenges of remote work and drops in productivity rates. However, opting to monitor your employees is a double-edged sword – while it increases work quality, it reduces trust and, occasionally, performance levels in the workplace.
This article examines the pros and cons of employee monitoring tools. Continue reading to learn more.
The Pros and Cons of Digital Employee Monitoring
In this section, we will discuss the major pros and cons of employing these monitoring tools in the workplace. Here are the pros:
Improved Team Performance
Employee monitoring allows one to see what employees do with their time on and off work hours, individually and together. This can help create more robust teams and units as they can complement each other with different skill sets. It opens the door to analyzing your employees’ strengths and weaknesses and knowing how and when to take advantage of each. This improves a business’s operations and processes as there are better teams who can take on more complex tasks and responsibilities in the easiest possible fashion/
This insight is also bound to benefit staff. Employees know which of their colleagues they would love to partner with regarding tasks. They can identify the lazy ones and the effective ones. No one wants to work with lazy people; even lazy people avoid lazy people. When they get information from the company about each person, coupled with some silent questions asked, they know who to pair with to get the job done and who will make work fun. This is also bound to make other people improve on work habits and outputs.
Although employee monitoring requires a bit of investment, it can save more money than it is worth when correctly done. After all, the point of employee monitoring is to check operations and processes for points where employees are costing you money. Employee monitoring can help you identify ways employees are costing you through inefficiencies.
Another good effect of employee monitoring in this regard is that it makes it easier to identify who needs more or less training to meet the required demands of the workplace. Once identified, they can be lined up for specific IT training and seminars that can improve their output and make them better for the company and beyond. Identifying people in this category saves you a lot of money and time.
Monitoring employees can increase productivity. Studies have proven that humans increase their performance when people are watching. One study on the use of monitoring software found that employees increased their productivity levels when they were aware that their employers and managers were keeping a close watch on their activities. Think of it as children behaving correctly when their teacher is in the classroom and vice versa.
Essentially, monitoring your employees can positively affect your business’s growth and revenue. One can also compound the advantages by offering incentives and rewards. Well-designed incentive programs are known to be motivating prospects for employees as it pushes them to do better and be better. Additionally, offering incentives and rewards will be more specific, appropriate, and effective when there is enhanced insight into how a company and its staff perform.
The cons of employing monitoring tools in the workplace include:
There are many ethical issues when it comes to employee monitoring, especially regarding workplace morale and employee confidence. It is common for employees to feel robbed of their privacy or that you do not trust them enough to do their work without monitoring them. All these can decrease trust in their managers and the workplace as a whole and even build resentment towards the company.
This introduces low productivity and might even make you lose staff more readily than expected. This will, in turn, harm your revenue and other figures, build stress and increase the workload on the rest of the employees, and damage a company’s reputation for the future short term and long term. In other words, you might be worse off than before the employee monitoring policy was introduced.
Cost in Time and Resources
Digital employee monitoring costs money and takes time. Firstly, research has to be done to know which software will fit the system where it will be used. Also, in some companies, it will be run through the staff to gauge the acceptance levels, and then it will be installed. It does not end here.
After installation, you will have to arrange for new staff to monitor the monitoring system, gather data, and gain insights. After all, the point of installing was to help improve productivity, which enhances business growth.
This can be a distraction for many staff and the business as a whole, as there will undoubtedly be many other things to spend time, money, energy, and other resources on apart from the main process and operations of the company. While the whole idea might be worth it, there is still the cost of implementation to consider when talking about employee monitoring.
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