Employee Privacy: Don’t Confuse Productivity With Activity
Employee Privacy: Don’t Confuse Productivity With Activity -https://ift.tt/sMQNuXg –
Recently I’m seeing a slight increase in the following type of question:
‘Hi. We ARE going to deploy employee monitoring system XYZ, taking random screenprints, or even fully record the monitor, measuring peripheral input activity like mouse and keyboard, and we want to take shots with the built-in camera. So… what about (insert four-letter-acronym-of-choice)?’
That acronym being something like GDPR, LGPD, PDPB, PIPL, CCPA, you name it.
First off, don’t say you are deploying it by definition. Clearly, you haven’t thought this through enough. Second, when I ask ‘why’, the answer is almost always ‘Well, it’s important to monitor productivity. So we use it for remote workers, to see if the employee actually is actively working.’ That’s where I get confused.
It’s not that privacy and data protection legislation only protects your customer. It’s not even about ‘data privacy’ at all. Data doesn’t care whether it has privacy. It’s about people. And guess what? Employees are people too. But then I think about my own work day. I sometimes start late. I also always end late. In between I may go out for a walk. I read (a lot). And yes, some academic theses I actually print because I like the calm, peaceful old way of scribbling on it as I walk around the house. That takes time, but I learn as I read. Nothing my employer can see (because yes, there are other people indoors too and even if it weren’t so, there’s a cam cover permanently closed unless I want it open). All of this and much more may IMPLY I’m not active – on the company laptop. But it doesn’t say anything.
The distrust of remote workers should end, and end fast. The overly active monitoring should end as well. It’s not PRODUCTIVITY, it’s activity that you’re checking. And companies who overly monitor employees may actually see a productivity decrease of up to 50%, whereas those who allow their employees some liberties and freedoms, like personal privacy, may see productivity increase up to 15%.
Have some heart. Treat people well. Don’t windowdress your care for humanity with a $100,- ‘wellness reimbursement’ to staff when they still have to worry not being at their screen looking busy between 9 and 5. Monitor end results, actual productivity, and show your actual care for workers by actually treating them right. Not because of some four-letter-acronym making it difficult for you to deploy otherwise useless and invasive, inhumane surveillance systems. But because, you know, it’s the right thing to do.