​How do you  monitor working from home activities whilst retaining the trust of your employees?


​How do you monitor working from home activities whilst retaining the trust of your employees?

Posted on 07 December 2023

How do you monitor working from home activities whilst retaining the trust of your employees?

Last week we ran a poll to find out how people feel about having their activities tracked whilst working from home. The majority of people (61%) believe it is not acceptable to use tools or software to track activity, although 25% think it is somewhat acceptable.

So what is appropriate, and how do you ensure that any measures in place don’t erode the trust of your employees?

As soon as you think of someone tracking your every move online; your messages, the websites you’re on, your keystrokes, webcam footage of you at your screen; it is easy to feel an invasion of privacy. Although…how is this different to a manager sitting next to you in the office and seeing or hearing your activity – how often you take breaks, the conversations you have, the work that is getting done?


With more and more people working from home or in hybrid roles it is becoming more of a challenge for employers to accurately measure productivity, which could be why an increased number are looking for ways to track and monitor this.


Instinct may cause many people (the 61% above) to automatically think of the negatives of such monitoring; that feeling of “they are checking up on me”. This can sometimes cause counterproductive behaviours as individuals’ rebel against their perceived lack of control and responsibility. It can also fuel work related stress, mistrust, lower engagement, and ultimately lower performance.

Looking from a more positive perspective, having this knowledge of activity can be an opportunity to be more inclusive. By recognising the efforts and dedication of the many ‘unseen’ workers and being in a position to reward the incredible work they are doing (often quietly from a spare bedroom or kitchen table) if done well, this could in fact lead to an improvement in job satisfaction for those people.


When it comes to measuring any performance the important thing to focus on is outputs. What are the quantifiable outcomes that lead to business productivity and performance? Establish what these are and hold your teams accountable to them – if there are set processes that must be followed then make that explicit. If, however, the time spent doing the task is less important than the result, ask yourself whether you really need to be tracking this?


Building trust with employees will ensure that you can still collect the data you need and retain their commitment. Demonstrating how you protect their privacy; being transparent with all employees about any monitoring you do; and explaining the reasons why you do it, will all aid greater trust and engagement. If employees feel like they are being treated fairly they are less likely to have a negative reaction.

Showing employees how such measures can help them accomplish high performance through analysing their activity, or even ensure they maintain a good work/life balance (many home workers exceed their contracted hours often in their plight to show they are working hard), will encourage individuals to understand and accept the established practices in place.

In summary, if you choose to use any such tools think carefully about why you are monitoring your remote workers, are you measuring the right things and do you have the trust of your employees?

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