SURVEY SAYS: Does Your Employer Track Remote Employee Activity?

NewsDash readers share their opinion of employers using software to track remote employee activity and productivity.

A survey has found 60% of companies with employees who work remotely are using monitoring software to track employee activity and productivity. They are doing so by using software that monitors web browsing and application use, captures random screenshots, blocks content and applications and/or logs keystrokes.

Last week, I asked NewsDash reader, “Is your employer monitoring remote employee activity and productivity?” I also asked “How do you feel about this practice?”

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Nearly half (47%) of responding readers work in a plan sponsor role, 42% are/work for recordkeepers/TPAs/investment consultants, and 11% are advisers/consultants.

More than half of respondents (53%) said they don’t know if their employer is monitoring remote employee activity and productivity, 37% indicated their employer is not doing so, and 10% said their employer is.

Only 5% said they agree 100% with the practice of employers monitoring remote employee activity and productivity, and the same percentage said they were unsure about it. Eleven percent disagree with the practice 100%, while 21% agree with an employer’s right to use any monitoring, but said it makes them uncomfortable. Fifty-eight percent agreed with the statement, “I think blocking certain content and applications is fine, but other monitoring is intrusive.”

While there were comments on both sides of the issue, all of the few commenters made good points. For example, any monitoring should be disclosed to employees; remote employees may be working more flexible hours for various reasons, so time offline isn’t always an indication of not being productive; and there’s nothing wrong with taking time to regroup, recharge or release. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “If you don’t trust your employees, maybe you shouldn’t employ them.”

A big thank you to all who completed the survey.


“All responses are anonymous”, unless your employer is monitoring… Even at work there should be the ability to have private conversations, anything else is a morally wrong invasion of privacy.

If you don’t trust your employees, maybe you shouldn’t employ them.

As long as it is fully disclosed to the employees, and the monitoring software is in place for everyone regardless of where they work (office based as well as remote), I fully support the employers right to monitor.

If they monitor your work and productivity while you are physically at work, I’m not sure how this is any different, you probably just can’t hide extra window computer tab as well anymore. I fully believe in full trust from my employer, but I do understand that some people take advantage of that “blind” trust sometimes…

If employers are doing this it should definitely be disclosed to employees.

Some employers monitor activity and productivity for employees who are working in a local office, so I don’t feel to do similar monitoring for remote employees should be an issue. Employers should be aware that remote employees may be working during random, flexible periods during a day as long as they are available during mutually agreed to core hours if that is a requirement. So, no activity for a period of time during the day should not be interpreted as unproductive for a remote employee.

Since I am salaried, I don’t have set hours, I just have to get the work done. But I will say I am signed in for at least 10 hours a day and work those hours, or the work won’t get done. Some areas of the company that have employees who are not salaried monitor their employees’ computer time.

It makes me wonder how much employees were being monitored when they were in the office.

Make your managers do their job! And trust that your employees are doing theirs. If an employee isn’t getting their work done, you have a problem – address it. Suck it up buttercup and treat humans like humans. Don’t take the coward’s way out.

It is acceptable to monitor and block “certain content and certain activities,”but it displays lack of trust to monitor how much time is spent in different applications or online. It is uncomfortable and feels as though taking a moment to regroup after a difficult conversation or a lengthy task or a creative block is unacceptable. There is not any monitoring in the middle of the night when I toss and turn until I find a brilliant solution to solve a challenge. If only they knew how many times I wake up and write myself a note to look into something the next morning.

Unfortunately, there will be people who abuse the ability to work from home so monitoring may be a necessary evil.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.