A CIPD survey has revealed 55% of UK bosses agree that it is acceptable to collect information on regular home workers in the interests of wellbeing.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of leaders asked said they would be in favour observing email behaviours as a means of monitoring burnout.
The same percentage said they would support recording the time employees spend on their laptop (22%), and 18% supported manager alerts for when employees work outside their normal hours.
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Speaking to HR magazine Hayfa Mohdzaini, senior research adviser at the CIPD, said the use of monitoring software should depend upon an organisation’s definition and measurement of productivity.
She said: “Monitoring software can be useful for tracking the amount of time spent on tasks and when they are complete, as well as volume of outputs, but is less useful for assessing qualitative measures.
“For example, it can reduce the effort needed to log time spent on billable tasks for different clients but is less useful for assessing the quality of an image design.”
Three in 10 (28%) survey respondents said they are using software to monitor the productivity of home workers, yet the majority (58%) said they don’t use any.
Mohdzaini added: “Employers that want to use monitoring software to measure productivity need to ensure that they’re using the least intrusive methods and tell employees why they’re using it.”
Tracking time spent on billable tasks was supported by 24%, and 18% were in favour of passively monitoring web activity, such as time spent on non-work-related websites.
Ronni Zehavi, CEO and co-founder at survey partner HiBob, said: “It’s understandable for businesses to want to gain insight into what their staff spend time on or how long anything takes them to do, but collecting more information than is needed to fulfil any audit purpose could undermine trust and impact the relationship between staff and employers, irrevocably damaging employee engagement, the cornerstone of any HR strategy.”