'I monitor my staff with software that takes screenshots'
Many have struggled to get to grips with working from home, but would surveillance technology help?
Home 'shirkers'?With more of us than ever working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a spike in demand for software that monitors employee activity.US-based Hubstaff says its number of UK customers is up four times year-on-year since February.
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceMedia captionIs your boss spying on you as you work from home?Another company called Sneek offers technology that takes photos of workers through their laptop and uploads them for colleagues to see. Photos can be taken as often as every minute, although it describes itself as a communication platform.
Its co-founder, Del Currie, told the BBC that it had seen a five-fold increase in its number of users during lockdown, taking the firm to almost 20,000 in total.by academics at Cardiff University and the University of Southampton found that a common fear among bosses is that out-of-sight workers will"shirk", although lockdown didn't actually appear to have had much of an effect on output either way.
The survey also suggested that a third of home workers felt that their productivity had fallen too.But is technology the answer to either catch out those who might be slacking off or to help those struggling to adjust to working from the kitchen table full-time?
'I would have felt bad if somebody was tracking me'Image captionPhotographer Josh says he struggled with both logistics and motivationJosh, a 26-year-old photographer living in London, admits that the thing he found hardest about working from home was the drop in his productivity.
Setting up a makeshift studio in the kitchen of his three-bedroom flatshare was logistically challenging but he also struggled with motivation."Some days I would get through everything, but others I would sit and stare at a pair of sandals for a while just thinking, 'I can't do this.' It's too easy to just go and put the washing on, or make a cup of tea - you find ways to distract yourself quite easily."
He is grateful his boss doesn't use any tracking software on him."Those days when it was a bit harder to be motivated, I would have felt bad if I knew somebody was tracking my productivity," he says.Josh has long suspected that he has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can make it difficult to concentrate and manage his time. His doctor agrees, although he's still on a waiting list for a test.
Having returned to the office recently, he is valuing having some more face-to-face interaction."I find a routine, structure really anchoring and it helps me get through it all."Monitoring must be 'proportionate'While some bosses who use these types of software might argue that it's good for maintaining productivity,
research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)suggests that workplace surveillance can damage trust."Monitoring employee behaviour can be a justifiable way to reduce the risk of misconduct and potentially help manage performance," says Jonny Gifford, senior adviser for organisational behaviour research at the CIPD.
"However, employers should have clear policies so that workers know how they may be monitored, and crucially, it must be proportionate."Employers will get"much better results" by supporting employees, he adds,"rather than focusing on potentially irrelevant measures of input, such as the number of keystrokes".
Jonathan Rennie, partner at UK law firm TLT, also urges caution for firms considering introducing such software."Employers have an implied legal duty to maintain their employees' trust and confidence, and need to be mindful of how employees might react to the mass roll-out of monitoring software," he says.
He suggests that any firms using monitoring software should have written policies in place explaining how and why it is being used.There should also be clear guidance for managers and safeguards in place to prevent misuse or"over-monitoring", he says.
Does your employer track your productivity at home? How would you feel about being monitored? Share your experiences by email@example.com.Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
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All hail Shibu Philip, the new Gerald Ratner. Admits he uses video surveillance on his staff IN THEIR OWN HOMES! Take away Prawn Sandwich, anyone? Cheap. PS - are you paying to use their homes to help your business survive? Big mistake - BIG - huge.... Pervert You have no right to spy on them Dirty spying git
Just tender resignation, such a creep So it seems our country is now being being invaded by communists, watching our every move, even in our castles. What next? Secret police coming in the dead of night to kidnap us and sell us as sex slaves in New Delhi? Time to clean this county up, London must fall🇬🇧👍
Everything. Literally everything that is wrong with an employers view of his employees and getting the most out of them is represented by this idiot and the technology. Would never work for a firm that used it. Still doesn't measure anything and deeply insulting. Abhorrent. He needs his browser history published.....
1984. Big brother. The oppressor. But it’s all a bit of a joke. If you take from scum like this your children will be next. Fuckin control freak! I wonder if he monitors his staff's piss breaks too. Sounds like a great company to work for... What a cheek. He needs to take a chill pill. I couldn't put up with some control freak watching my every move.
Time to read 1984 again. Why don’t he just put chains on his workers and feed them twice a day. Why employ people if you can’t trust them to work? This is more a failure of this man as a leader than of his employees How? The chip in their right hand? Woah! 😲 There is a better way to ensure productivity without breaching employee trust - it's about empowering employees. Download our helpful guide on how to manage staff working from home today
1984 is alive and well. The great freedom loving Brits who accept as normal that millions of cameras watch and record their every move and such pathetic employers who control them at home. Slightly noncy ngl Thank you for letting us know So who else is reading this whilst they are meant to working from home?
Management like this makes me glad sites like Glassdoor exist. More than once I've been saved from applying with companies with Draconian policies and practices thanks to their reviews. Any company using this software needs naming and shaming, frankly. so you don t trust them? Now our own homes are slowly turning into amazon fulfilment style productivity factories with trackable targets and penalties for failing to log on. -Exactly why EU data protection regulation is so important (and why big money wants us to reject it)
I'd never work for a guy like this. Disturbing. 😳 Big brother is here. You need to do more work then you’d have less time to infringe thier hunan rights This is no way to measure productivity. All he’ll do is make people resent him. so you dont trust them? ✅ASSURED PROFITS ✅SAFE WITHDRAWALS ✅FUNDS SECURITY ❌INCOMPETENCE •Work smart and not hard,join us today to start earning via bitcoin investments with a licensed company.Send me a DM to register.
A way for slack management to become even more slack. I'd mount a photo of myself working hard in front of the camera. In 15 years of working from home all I had to deliver was the required outputs. Most of them were technical reports considered and composed whilst walking round the garden - then quickly typed up.
In India they treat their workers like slaves. And he is so happy doing this great job I thought this was happening 36 years ago Also not legal. If your employees aren't enthusiastic about their work, that's a sign of poor management. And there m' lud rests the case forthe defense. Big Brother... bad big brother.. is that even allowed?
That is a horrific way to treat people. This guy clearly has no clue about managing people Counter productive, wanna be' big brother' with the old telescreen. 🤷♂️ Bet he is a millionaire and his staff paid peanuts and thankful to be working for such a wonderful man lol I wouldn’t work for you. If you can’t trust your employees why hire them in the first place?
Money grubbing spy. Is the work done? Yes! Then who cares what the employee is doing in their own home! MAYBE YOU SHOULD TIME THEM WHEN THEY GO FOR A SHIT LIKE AMAZON DO, THATS WHY WE KEEP GETTING ADVERTISING HOMELY STAFF SAYING HOW NICE THEY ARE TO WORK FOR PROPERGANDER BY GOVERNMENT BACKED TAX AVOIDING COMPANY!!
This is what you get when you fail to motivate and engage your staff Surely it’s illegal! No; its a form of bullying in the workplace. If you have composed a private email to the whistle blowers ref this person (for example) they would be given access to privileged information which they shouldn't have Writing an appraisal of a colleague; maybe not something to share.
That is creepy, also will hit staff morale feeling someone is breathing down their neck all day which will reduce productivity. I would recommend nobody works for this employer. creepy You would think he would have more productive things to do with his time. Toss a I think we can all draw a pretty cast iron conclusion about this creepy bastard. 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮
If your that insecure you need to look at yourself as an employer. If you don’t trust your staff then maybe you shouldn’t have employed them in the first place. What a depressing and old fashioned attitude that a company or boss who does not know how to motivate its staff resorts to this invasive and possibly illegal technology. Productivity is measured by doing the right things to the right quality within the right timescale. MEASURE!
Your meant to step away from screen as a health protection or you will have life long health issues🤦🏼♀️ Not nice to work somewhere you are not trusted ! Those who can do, those who can’t, manage. This is a step to far! And I am laughing at you right now. It is actually illegal to record people without their knowledge what a horrible boss
Bet he's a bedwetter 😅 Too many 'bosses' are like paranoid children. Proper melts who think everyone is out to take the pee. I’d leave your pervy job Look at him...dodgy... 💩👈🏻 Pervett Thats a bit extreme and rather like nazi boss Focus on outcomes and deliverables, not on timekeeping. If someone delivers everything you employ them to do in the first hour then spend the day playing golf or reading a book, so what. Better that than someone spending all day not getting work done but sitting there diligently
Our employer encourages us to take breaks - go and put the washing on - step away from your screen now and then - make sure you socialise - even virtually. PS. My laptop is closed connected to a dock so no camera 😃 Micromanaging and lack of trust. Intensely monitoring your employees doesn't make you a good manager.
Amazed anyone wants to work for him... Have we just travelled back in time 50 years? 🤦♀️ So people are being refused treatment at gp surgeries and facing illness and possibly death and the bbc bring this story out? This is perfectly legal and there is a lot more going on then some bloke in India watching his staff 🤷♂️
'The beatings will continue until morale improves.' Why do we need to all “spy” on each other these days? When did we become so interested in what others are doing? Frankly if the job gets done does it matter how they got from A to B? Monitoring creates anxiety at work and for some would make them less productive. Need to trust.
Big Bro Employers monitoring their employees' computer use is nothing new. Thousands of employers do it. My company has similar software. Takes screenshot every 20 minutes. Unfortunately for them, they needed me to work on the server. Now, I am sure they're wondering why they always get same image from my machine
A girl at work needs this installed on her device because I swear everyday when she claims to be busy she's doing F all work at home. That's why her nickname is Lazy Girl Psychopat. That's not what management is about. Moron This has been around for ages. The contractor companies that do content moderation for Facebook all use them.
Jees he's even on staff that are doing better than expected so he can use them to beat the others with. Won’t buy from his firm then Control freak A lot of companies do and don’t tell you All to make sure they're not slacking from lining his pockets. If he can't trust his staff, he needs to improve his interview technique when he hires them and reward/motivate them properly once he has hired them.
Mr oppressive Sounds like a good idea for the first minute then all the negatives come flooding in. That's going too far. If they are doing the job then what does it matter if they spend some time doing other things. Greedy bosses trying to draw blood out of people just so they can buy a new Ferrari. slavedrivers
Nothing new there. Apps were available many years ago to do just that, recording user activity and store on server. You could check any user for ‘any’ period of time about anything. Camera was not of interest only ‘desktop’ activity. I have seen it! Big brother is watching you. BIG BROTHER is always watching
I hope this isn’t normal. Besides how does he plan on firing any staff that arn’t behaving how he wants to ? “I’ve been secretly recording you through your computer “? I’d take legal action against this fucking pervert. How about actually trusting your staff rather than spy on them?! I work in IT & if we were asked to put this sort of software on our company laptops, i would fight against it!
Would never Do you have permission from your staff? I'd sue you, perv Ah capitalism - setting us free just like uncle Milton said it would, and not at all turning us into housebound wage slaves. A sure way to lose your employees trust. Further more being watched in ones own home is objectionable. If they are meeting credible targets and getting through their work, that should be enough. You won’t get the best from your staff by showing that you don’t trust them.
Well...he looks like a nonce The capitalism they want to ban students from learning about. Nasty piece of work, isn’t he. Wonder what the turnover rate is FFS has nobody ever heard of George Orwell? I make myself available for my staff and frequently hold meetings just to chat about how they are feeling and if they have any issues that I can help them with. I don’t often check their performance as they know their job particularly well.
So the best way you can find to monitor your employees' output is to take photos of them? Really Yep. Welcome to a 21st Century office. I get timed going to the loo. Interesting that everyone thinks this is new 🤷♀️ he’s using monitoring software that’s widely available and widely used. Howabout this Really!! Is that ok!?
What? Fuck no. I wouldn’t work for someone doing that shit. You are working from your home, paying the overheads for that home office, it is your space and no one has a right to be snooping on you like that. Horrible management. I hope he has permission from the people being screenshotted at home. Not very nice if they're having a private nose pick....
And employee of the year goes to........anyone who works for this guy! Note down the company name and be sure not to use them. The only thing bureaucrats understand is money. This is someone who does not know how to manage people or a team. If I found out that you were trying to use that sort of software on my computers and my network then you can stick your job where the sun don't shine. Total lack of trust, and typical of a boss who shouldn't be employing people.
Not content with ruining jobs and making offices redundant, now your employer wants to spy on you if you are working from home. Ladies and gentlemen, the Stasi have arrived. Fastest way to destroy your own business: admit to a major news outlet that not only are you a re-seller of beauty products but that you also adopt sharp practice to whip your nine members of staff into line. Then smile in the photo. Job done.
Managers who do this kind of thing are just hidin go their incompetence to manage people. He would not get away with this if his employees were based in the UK Yea, that's horrible, creepy & repressive! My boss put 'security cameras' up in the office with one behind me. I quit, not going to work like that. If you don't trust your team you shouldn't have employed them....
Nice of you to trust them 😬 Is he the person recording or one of his untrustworthy members of staff. I dont get all this crazy monitoring. It should be simple - is a task/target beign done in an exceptable time frame. If yes what does it matter how you structure your day. A software to watch their “slaves”. 👏👏👏
Or maybe you could judge employees on their output and give them a bit of trust and empowerment? Who in their right mind would work for this creepy weirdo Nice/trusting An informal short break a couple of times a day is likely to improve his employees productivity for the rest of the day. Furthermore if they are shirking then it's actually his fault for either not motivating them or not incentivising them correctly. Sounds like poor management.
Trusting sort of chap...........should make a good Home Secretary I monitor my staff with sight and sound mixed with words and compassion, finished with understanding and a conversation That’s a hard-drive case right there.. Bloody vampire London based company - employs 7 people in India. This is the future unless we all get back to the office. Anyone who's job can be done 100% from home, is at risk. Everyone should want to bet back to their workplace asap
This isn't creepy at all This says so much more about your work ethic than theirs creepy Dystopian MF'er This is biassed govt propaganda. No balance to suggest the reality that productivity often rises with HW or that recent polls suggest 80% of HWs want to keep working from home. Also, interviewing someone with ADHD is hardly typical of home HWs as he's bound to find it difficult.
I'm interested in the legalities of this BarristerSecret Big brother. If I thought my employer was doing this to me I’d work naked, standing up with my laptop at waist height. They’d soon shut it off If someone gets all their work done, does it matter if they put some washing in?! It's likely people get things done quicker at home without the chat of colleagues all the time. As long as they're available during the hours they're contracted for, what's the problem?
Employers need to do research first to find out for themselves if productivity is going up or down due to homeworking. I'm pretty sure that I work better due to less distractions. Show us the stats! Staff awareness of the monitoring is irrelevant this is simply control indicative of either inept or just lazy ‘management’. Try setting and monitoring objectives and support your staff to achieve them, they might then actual enjoy working for you.
This is not the way you work with people. Your employees are not your hostages. I would like to call you a manager but even that I can't ( and a leader would be ridiculous too). This is the old school of doing things. If you can't trust people, ask why. Maybe the problem is you. Worker bees get to work or else. It’s worse then the matrix! At least in that film you were content in the illusion.
That would be one instant resignation. Whet a total lack of trust. If you do not trust your employees to do the work they're supposed to do, then it really says something about you. Every SOB wants to b a master to their emoyees they think they own people working for them and treat them like a slave. What an Ass whole!
Pervert You have no trust in your employees, you need to go and get help Is that even fucking legal? I would say that is illegal. A camera could pick up, family members in the house. Data protection laws must cover this, this is a form of voyeurism. Creepy If you can't measure the output your staff are producing, then you're doing something wrong! If you are given targets and you meet them or even exceed them, what is the problem?
Glad I work for a company that understands WFH . It is not about when you work and how you work. It is not about being busy but being productive. Measure by results over months not minutes on screen. Pervert Imagine being his ... wife, kids!?!? Bloke has issues on too many level even if you wanted to help him.
Or: trust staff to do their job? One place in Speke that I worked at the boss had access to your emails!!! I'd load up some animal porn and leave it there for him to see. Just weird and creepy to be fair...: I believe 2020 will be the year that kills the “working” from home as a concept Horrible manager. What a great way to push away your best and potentially most loyal workers. Trust works both ways.
Your staff are your biggest asset, if you don't trust them, you lost 50% of their allegiance, and it's very easy and fast to lose the remaining 50% in the age of competing companies requiring remote IT workers. Ensure you have a self-motivated team instead. Mistrusting voyeurism to me. It would put me off working for you. You want people to wfh to benefit your business and then arch them? Where’s your productivity during this?
This isn’t management and if you think your staff are sat taking screenshots of memes all day then you might just need to employ new staff. Despot! Ha ha ha. An official peeping tom! Wanker This is totally illegal and unethical and is a very worrying trend Should be illegal. Breach of privacy. Monitor activity, not take photos of their homes. Really quite creepy. Someone needs to challenge these sorts of things in court. Keir_Starmer UKLabour
Revolting! Money first, money last. Make me money, I need more money. Well there’s a company not to work for. Isn't this spying on people in their own homes though? Creepy. I work from home & it’s a more intense way of working as I tend not to take the breaks I would at work, no chatting to colleagues, etc. It can be very tiring and I always have a blob of blu tack on my laptop camera. You never know who can access it 👀
Imagine a British based boss with a warehouse full of child labourers in Asia each child connected to a remote Taser Screenshots and a 24/7 Taser is all the modern boss could want. Look at that seedy face 🤣🤢 Another appalling thing to happen in 2020! 🤦🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️ Thats China right? C u next Tuesday
this is psychotic I know several unconnected people who work from home due to the pandemic all of whom have stated that they can drink whenever they want to because workplace alcohol testing and screening procedures are not enforceable! This is NOT how you manage people 🤦🏻♂️ - set objectives - manage on outcomes - coach people to manage their energy not their time He isn’t a manager he’s just beating people with a stick and that won’t achieve the outcome he wants. Bet he turns over a lot of staff
Culture That smile.. Yakes. I wonder who monitors him? That sucks! Why? Why treat your staff like children? Can’t think much of them and they all think im a tit In the name of inventions and technology could technology provide us proper employers as well ,with the old values and decency. Under the name of science there is more slave masters borne in to the system. Boring thwats.
This is disgraceful. WTF!? I would be in this company only enought time to get the money and get organized. I would soon try to find another job far, far away. What the fuck. It'd be better if these jurassic mind bosses could track if you are inside deadlines instead of your clicks and screenshots. I use a separate work laptop, a separate phone and I put blue-tac on my laptop and mobile cameras.
I'd fire a manager that shows such a lack of leadership, competence. Instead of developing employees' interest for their work and creative problem solving, wastes everybody's time, money, opportunities ... They are just provoking the people they want you to get angry with yr bosses , do what they do see if it's legal or in yr contractors if not then get justice.We can fight them.But remember who is destroying the country and all the corruption from the the controlled media
'I treat my staff with contempt'. Because he takes to many breaks, his staff that he probably pays way under the going rate have to be monitored. Measure outputs, not inputs. There’s research to indicate when WFH that there is more productivity. If you think this is new, you need to grow up. If you think the same doesn't happen with your screen activity on any device you use at work or home, you need to grow up. If you think the cameras on your devices aren't being accessed, you need to grow up...
Dudes like this don’t care about anything but money! I would not work for someone like that if I could avoid it, if not I’d be looking for a new boss Why would you employ people you don't trust? Ridiculous. Productivity should be validated by achieving clear and defined business objectives. Am I the only one who can hear alarm bells ringing
this is next level 😳 if u cant trust ur employees u probably shouldn't have employed them ... would never work with any company that spies on u to that extent... freaky shit. Big brother! Our dystopian 'future' has arrived Some rancid pretend journalist / presenter in regard to Trumps cheating & tax avoidance in a country where 100's of 1000s die for lack of any healthcare says .' some would say it's clever to avoid tax ..... ' - WHAT THE VERY F BBC - Time to shut down - Reith would weep!
Cover the camera up “I’ve got no friends and I never will because I’m a prick” Chincy money grubbing bastard. What a creep Snooping that can't be legal I wouldn’t work for this control freak. That’s stalking and it’s illegal. And what the hell do you do with the screen shots after? jack off on them? You’re a creepy weirdo.
This is worse than him capturing screenshots. 'Another company called Sneek offers technology that takes photos of workers through their laptop and uploads them for colleagues to see.' Work unit must be monitored to ensure maximum profitability for the almighty CEO. Praise be to the shareholders (hallowed be their name).
Apparently uni’s use it too to spy on I mean visually monitor students sitting home online exams n they have to move the computer around the room so the examiner is satisfied their are no cheat sheets around the room. Invasion of privacy ? Yikes. This is so basic. What the heck, ? ..buys second computer/monitor
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Fixing test and trace is the only way to avoid economic catastropheBritain’s failure to monitor Covid-19 outbreaks could lead to more economically destructive nationwide restrictions Allowing things to return to normal immediately will sort the economy. BULL.S**T! Could have avoided it by avoiding lockdown months ago. All for a virus with a death rate of 0.005... Was never about 'saving lives'. But the sheep wouldn't listen. Enjoy your unemployment and homelessness you alarmists. You earned it 🙃 And, um, a humanitarian one?
UK university staff: how are online lectures going?We would like to hear from UK university staff including lecturers and pastoral support workers infinite_scream I AM JESUS CHRIST AND I DO NOT SUPPORT RACISM !! DONALD TRUMP IS THE OLD SERPENT 'THE DRAGON' 'THE DEVIL'. I WILL DEFEND AFRO-AMERICANS !! I came to step on the serpent's head. 'Revelation of the bible' End of the world... TRUMP DEVIL good
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