Ethics of Surveying Your Remote Employees

Ethics of Surveying Your Remote Employees

All you need to know to ensure your remote surveillance system doesn’t cross any ethical boundaries.

For employees and employers alike, the work-from-home scenario has not been easy. Sure, we have all found ways of staying productive and getting our jobs done. Yet, for employers supervising remote employees for the very first time, remote surveillance has become the only option. 

Companies have had to rely on remote employee surveillance software to make sure that their employees are staying productive. Different applications provide different levels of surveillance. The most common features include monitoring the employee’s keyboard activity, log-on and log-off times, browsing history and application usage. These employee-tracking programs give employers information on how actively the user has been typing and when they stop clicking around. They can also block certain websites or give prompts to employees that they shouldn’t spend more than a certain amount of time on a specific website. On the more alarming end of remote surveillance, some software, like Sneek, can even take photos of ‌workers throughout the day. 

The nagging question with remote surveillance has been how to balance overseeing your employees’ work without encroaching on their privacy? To understand that, here are some very important things to consider when surveying remote workers. 

Properly research your software provider

It is extremely crucial that you verify your software vendor. Privacy software bought in haste can sometimes end up accumulating more information than you intend for it to. One of the dangerous practices followed by some monitoring software is keylogging. Keylogging is essentially the practice of keeping track of everything a person types on their laptop. Not only will keylogging tell an employer the type of music their employee is searching for on YouTube while working, but it can also tell them your passwords. Keylogging is particularly threatening to privacy in situations where employees use their personal devices or their work machines outside office hours. 

Give ample information to your employees

It should come as no surprise that monitoring your employees in secret is a breach of trust. In fact, it is not only unethical but also illegal. Whenever you use an employee monitoring system, it is indispensable that you let your employees know they are being surveyed and even provide them with consent forms. These forms should contain details of what you will be monitoring, how the monitored data will be stored and who will be able to access it.

Preventing discrimination between employees when surveying

When surveying employee performance, it is important that everyone is being monitored to the same extent. For instance, ‌junior-most employees shouldn’t be monitored more than upper management. Altering promotion or dismissal decisions is another kind of discrimination that surveillance can lead to. More than 65% of all surveillance programs can look at employee data and determine whether a person is pregnant, unwell or a union member. To prevent this, the employer must make sure that the surveyed information is protected from those making promotion and dismissal decisions. 

So is all surveillance bad?

To be fair, not all surveillance is bad. It can tell you what your employees are doing, how much time a task takes to finish and what resources are required to complete said task. It can even help employees because if the employer could actually monitor what you are doing, you wouldn’t constantly be asked what you are doing

Surveillance can also help employers find out who your high performers are and reward them. Moreover, knowing that their performance is being monitored will help employees stay productive and get more done. If you make sure that your surveillance practices are transparent and consensual, you will be able to keep your employees’ trust and still keep productivity high. 

Header image courtesy of Freepik 


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email


Elon Musk Buy Next

What Is Elon Musk Going to Buy Next?

There are moments in our lives—perhaps we are in the shower or struggling to sleep at 2 A.M.—when we think about all the ways we could influence the world. We find solutions to crypto volatility, world hunger and our neighbor’s ultra-dry plants.

5 Technologies

5 Technologies That Are on Stage in Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine So Far

On February 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, declared the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic. Arousing international outcry, this ignited the ultimate invasion of Russia on Ukraine three days later. While Ukrainians are still defying Putin’s covetous ambitions, new technologies have been floating on the surface to take advantage of each other.

Technology Joy Ghose

Technology Pioneers – Interview With Joy Ghose of FreeD Group

Over the past 15 years, the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of FreeD Group Limited, Joy Ghose, has accumulated plenty of experience in the travel and technology industry. Before joining FreeD Group, Ghose was involved in sales, marketing and management roles at companies like Merlin Entertainments and The Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Creamy Mattes and Beyond Reviewing GoPlay Cosmtics’ Custom Lipstick Maker

To Creamy Mattes and Beyond: Reviewing GoPlay Cosmtics’ Custom Lipstick Maker

While researching for our piece on personal color analysis, I came across the LIPSKIT, a custom lipstick-making tool created by GoPlay Cosmetics. GoPlay Cosmetics is a DIY (do-it-yourself) make-up brand that is looking to prioritize sustainability in the make-up industry without compromising the variety of your lipstick collection.

Ledger vs Trezor

Ledger vs Trezor: Where Should You Store Your Crypto Holdings?

As lucrative as the cryptocurrency world is, it comes with a high risk of losing your crypto because of hacks. To make sure that your crypto holdings stay safe with you, you must carefully choose effective storage solutions for them. One of the ways to keep your crypto secure is by holding it in a hardware wallet.