Is your employer watching you? Demand for employee monitoring software is skyrocketing

ByLance T. Lee

May 22, 2022

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Already Leonard is a Calgary-based freelance writer and journalist.

You log on to your work computer, coffee in hand, sweatpants, ready to work. Is it just you, your tasks for the day, and anyone else you might share a living space with – or is it?

According to a recent report from top10vpn.coman internet security firm that reviews VPN services, demand for employee monitoring software has increased 59% since the pandemic began.

While this may seem grim to some and unsurprising to others, the spike in interest isn’t entirely unwarranted. A study reveals eight in 10 remote workers in the United States admit to slacking off during work hours, and more than 43% admit to visiting porn websites on their laptops.

The problem with monitoring software

“The rapid rise of such invasive software threatens to set new standards for workplace surveillance and significantly undermine employees’ right to privacy,” the top10vpn report said.

Although privacy is a concern, when you dig deeper, the biggest issue for employers and employees may be withdrawal.

Behavioral Scientist Search suggests that when people know they are being watched, broken trust can lead to disengagement, which ultimately, and somewhat ironically, leads to even less productivity.

The report shows that two of the most popular software for monitoring employees are Hubstaff and FlexiSPY. Here is a brief overview of some of the features of these software.

Hub Staff
  • Screen monitoring
  • Keylogging (recording of keys struck on a keyboard)
  • Location tracking
  • time tracking
FlexiSPY

Everything Hubstaff can do, plus:

  • Remote takeover
  • Call interception
  • Webcam monitoring
  • Instant Messaging (IM) Monitoring

How governments and citizens act

In Canada, governments are beginning to address the issue. Recently, Ontario became the first province require companies with more than 25 employees to disclose if and how they are monitored electronically, including through computers, cellphones, GPS systems and other devices.

“This is another step forward in our fight to redress the balance and put more workers in the driver’s seat of their careers,” Labor Minister Monte McNaughton said in a statement.

If you’re wondering if your employer is watching you, there’s some things which you can use, such as checking background processes running on your computer.

You may also consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to evade internet activity monitoring, but this may set off red flags for your employer. Another common measure is to place tape or a webcam cover over your computer’s camera when it’s not in use.

There are also plenty of ways to make it look like you’re working when you’re not, including apps like Mouse movementwhich simulates user activity.

With remote working continuing to be the norm, transparency will be key as we see business and employee expectations and legislation evolve around the issue.

What I read on the web

  • Football – or soccer depending on where you read this – meets therapy in an impactful initiative called Time to Tackle. Read on to find out how Aaron Connolly, who attempted suicide in 2019, is bringing people together to get active and share their stories without judgement.
  • Are we back to normal? Apple says no in its latest decision, deciding to delay their plan that requires American workers to return to the office three days a week due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Additionally, they are requiring workers at some Apple stores to wear masks again.
  • Potential employees flocked to the Airbnb site after the company announced it would allow remote working, permanently. There is no doubt that the competition for a role there will be strong, but the CEO recently shared the main trait you need to land a job there.
  • When it comes to sports, people tend to be either into or bewildered as to why someone could be so invested in a team they technically aren’t a part of. This fandom is more than entertainment; according to this article To CNBC, being a sports fan has many benefits and is a “very psychologically healthy activity.”

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