The ability to work from home has been one of the silver linings of lockdown for many people. Instead of heading to the office with a travel mug of lukewarm coffee, we’ve been commuting from our beds. We work from our kitchens away from airless offices, loud co-workers and dictatorial bosses.
But as the pandemic continues and people carry on working remotely, some employers are tightening the reins on workers. Since March, an increasing number of businesses have turned to surveillance software like ActivTrak, WorkSmart and DeskTime to keep tabs on their staff.
These apps silently track our every move by monitoring productivity among remote workers. They tell our managers when we’ve logged on, how many minutes we have been “active” and how much we’ve done. We can’t even step away from our laptops to go to the toilet without our breaks being recorded.
The Need to Track Workers
The uncomfortable reality is that many employers feel entitled to track their workers’ activity. As employer need to make sure they aren’t slacking off. But not only is intimidating people into being productive pretty dystopian, it sends out a seriously damaging message of distrust to employees.
The Key is Trust
“Trust is essential for building strong and successful relationships, both in and out of the workplace. It allows people to make safe assumptions about each other. It is also make us to rely on one another and to be open with each other.” Says business psychologist Stuart Duff, head of development at business psychology consultancy Pearn Kandola.
Most importantly, trust is a source of motivation to act in the right way for another person. If we trust colleagues, we are significantly more likely to reach out and help them. Where trust is high in organisations, individuals report greater levels of personal well-being, job satisfaction and engagement.
Trust is essential in all businesses, but it’s particularly important for remote workers to feel trusted. Managers need to know people are productive and committed to achieving the target. Managers can do this without being able to see them regularly or catch up with them. And in turn, employees should be able to get on with their work without additional stress or anxiety because of employers’s tracking.
“Using tracking and surveillance in remote teams will provide a leader and their organisation with basic work data.” But it will undermine any type of trust between employees and their leader.” Duff says. “Using surveillance implies that there is zero trust in the working relationship and therefore an employee will have no incentive to build trust. They will simply perform the tasks.”
Although this may work for extremely transactional roles. The tracking softwares have a negative impact on the quality of team-working levels of creativity and decision-making. Meanwhile Employers may see surveillance software as a safety measure to make sure workers are doing what they should be doing.However, research shows a culture of distrust actually undermines productivity.
Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of psychology website Psychreg, adds that trust is a two-way street. Employees need to be trustworthy, but employers need to be reliable in managing their teams.
“By imposing control, a leader may feel short-term reassurance that everything will turn out in the way they expect, but in the long-term will create wariness in relationships that will reduce openness, honesty and spontaneity — vital ingredients in developing trust.
Source : sg.finance.yahoo.com