If you’re like most employers, you probably got the employee tracking app last year when everyone started working from home. We get it, you were in a completely new place, your entire team was suddenly working remotely, and it wasn’t easy managing everyone’s time and making sure people are staying productive.
And employee tracking software is amazing! It helps quantify and improve productivity, keeps you in the loop on your team’s usual activities, etc.
However, there are some lines you shouldn’t cross when using an employee tracking app.
Let’s see what they are.
Tracking Employees Without Their Knowledge
Monitoring employees’ computers in secret is only okay if you’re suspecting malpractice and you need to catch the perpetrator in the act. In most countries, this is the only time you’re allowed by law to monitor your team’s activities without their knowledge or permission.
However, if you’re using the software so you could improve your business, you should give them a heads up. Depending on where you’re located, you might need to tell your employees a few weeks in advance, or even have them sign consent forms and create policies that exhaustively explain everything about your monitoring practices.
What can happen if you don’t do this? Well, your employees will find out at some point, leaving you open to lawsuits. Not only that, but you can expect that your workers will be outraged, potentially quitting your business and giving it a bad reputation.
Using the Tracking Software Outside of Working Hours
Depending on how you set up your employee tracking app, it might be monitoring your employees since they turn on their work computer until they turn it off. Or, they need to clock in and out. If you’re using the second option, you can move to our next tip. If you belong to the first group, keep reading.
There’s no scenario in which it is good to collect employees’ private data, even if they’re doing private things on their work computers. So, if you have an option to make the tracker active only during specific hours – use it. It will automatically start at 9 AM and turn off at 5 o’clock. This way, you’ll avoid potentially catching their Facebook newsfeed, private emails, or whatever else they decide to check after hours.
The same goes for tracking during breaks – your employees should have an option to pause the tracking when they go on a break.
Collecting Private Data
As we said, collecting private data isn’t okay in any case. But, how can you prevent this if your employee decides to scroll through social media or pay some bills during working hours? Well, it depends on the employee tracking app you’re using.
Ideally, you should have the option to either turn off tracking or turn off screenshots (if this feature is on in other cases) when your employees are browsing through the aforementioned websites. You’ll still probably want to know that they’ve spent some time on social media, but you don’t need to see what they were doing there.
Not Using the Data for Improvement
Collecting the data about employees’ everyday activities just for the sake of monitoring doesn’t make much sense. It’s a waste of time, money, and other resources. The reason why you implemented such software should be connected to your business goals, or to the improvement paths you’re creating for your teams or individuals.
Don’t go around “catching” employees who slack off for short time periods. Track their behavior on a weekly or monthly level, and see how that “slacking” affects their overall workload or deliverables. If they’re doing a good job – you don’t have to give them a lecture on how they use their time.
On the other hand, if you do see that such behaviour affects your worker’s performance – talk to them. Tell them that you’ve been reviewing their data, and how it doesn’t look so good. Work with them to find the cause of this issue, as well as the potential solutions.
It’s not that hard to use employee tracking software “the right way”. Essentially, all you have to do is avoid being a snooping micromanager and you should be good to go.