We all want to know what our teams are up to when we’re not around. Whether we’re working on something in our office, away for a meeting, or simply working remotely, we can’t always have our eyes physically on our team. That said, technology has responded to this change through the introduction of employee monitoring software. From keystroke counting to project monitoring to actual desk sensors, technology has a broad spectrum of tools to bridge the gap.
Is tracking tech really something that we need in the workplace however? Has trust and motivation taken such a nosedive that an Orwellian approach to team management is entirely necessary? Team Wundamail Investigates.
Employee monitoring software can take a multitude of forms and different levels of intrusiveness (not all of them are as creepy sounding as desk sensors). Products that keep track of projects and team responsibilities such as Trello are great for seeing what everyone is working on, and what stage they’re at, at a glance. You can also attribute several people to a task, for example a group project, which can make collaboration a lot easier. That said, Trello isn’t designed specifically for team management- it’s more of a happy side effect of the tool.
These kinds of software intended specifically project management tools. They are designed for individuals to keep track and prioritise their own workload. For them to work, you don’t even need full team interaction- they function perfectly well for individuals (like a supercharged to-do list). By considering Trello’s wider uses, it could reap significant benefits for managers who want to ensure that projects are progressing well without having to chase updates individually.
For the more attentive manager, we have software that is designed specifically for employee monitoring. These include keystroke recorders, desk sensors, and other tracking devices. If you think desk sensors are a stretch of the imagination, you’re mistaken- companies use them to measure how long an employee is out of their seat for throughout the working day. For example this could include: tea breaks, going to the toilet, lunch, any unscheduled meetings that you have etc. Yes, that’s a thing that’s being used in the workplace. I think we’re all in agreement that this seems a step too far and if you can’t trust your team to this extent then you either have to have a long look in the mirror or ask them why.
Keystroke monitors have come into prevalence to ensure that people aren’t surfing the web on non-business matters when they’re not working. It’s essentially preventing the “quick, minimise that tab, the boss is coming” action. This being said, employees aren’t always aware that this software is installed on their business laptops and computers, making it a very sneaky and not overly ethical means of monitoring. Which brings us to the “if you’ve got nothing to hide…” defense. This is not the point. If you cannot trust your team, why did you hire them? Also with the rise in professional social media such as LinkedIn and remote working, the lines between work life and private home life are becoming increasingly blurred. For instance, if your employee needs to use LinkedIn for work, does that mean that you should be able to record her password? Of course not, that’s a breach of that employee’s privacy, which is where employee monitoring software becomes tricky and sneaky.
Employee monitoring software doesn’t need to be this way however. If you want to know what’s going on with your team, ask them. It doesn’t need to be face-to-face or on an individual basis either. With team management software, like Wundamail, you just ask one simple question and Wundamail compiles your entire team’s answers into one email for everyone to see. No complex and sneaky installation of software or sensors, just an open and honest way of keeping everyone in the loop, directly from your email inbox. Wundamail is simply how you manage teams in 2019.