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How to Approach "Bossware" & Employee Surveillance So You Don't Lose Good People

The evolution of bosswareEmployees used to work in the office five days a week. In the wake of the pandemic, though, most people now work remotely. It was easy to gauge how productive your people were, being in the office. You could easily see if someone took lengthy lunch hours or spent an unreasonable time on their phone. In the hybrid world, employers have to trust their employees more. They have to put good faith in their people that they are working as usual and not, for example, secretly watching Netflix next to their open work laptop.  Naturally, in this new paradigm, some technology providers saw an opportunity. Enter Bossware: a surveillance tool for monitoring and tracking remote employees. In the last year, Express VPN found that 78% were using monitoring software to track their employees' performance or online activity. More than half of firms started using this surveillance software in the last six months.

What is Bossware?At its core, Bossware is a piece of software that monitors everything that's happening on the end user's device, such as what applications they interact with, what websites they use, where they're logging in from and whom they speak to. More advanced solutions can be configured with expected work patterns, producing detailed graphics and charts showing how productive an employee is.  Some of these servers also use key logger functionality. This records employees' keystrokes, enabling them to see exactly what they're typing - including passwords.  From this description, it's easy to see why Bossware is controversial. Sure, it can help you ensure that your employees are productive, but it also can potentially breach your people's privacy. Here's a deeper dive into the pros and cons of Bossware: 

Pros of Bossware

  1. Bossware enables you to keep an eye on employees that are working remotely so that you can ensure they are productive and follow corporate rules 

  2. Bossware can be used to assist with time management, allowing you to distribute tasks more evenly if you see that some employees are working much more than others

  3. Bossware can help with invoicing by accurately tracking the amount of hours an employee works on a specific project for

  4. Bossware can make employees more productive, as they know they are being monitored 

Cons of Bossware 

  1. Some employees may feel like their privacy is violated if Bossware is used. In fact, it's been nicknamed 'spyware' for this exact reason 

  2. If Bossware is not managed ethically, it could create security risks

  3. Bossware may increase the likelihood of employee burnout, putting extra pressures on employees to work long hours when from home 

  4. If your employees use their own devices for work, they might object to having Bossware on their devices 

Should I invest in Bossware?Using Bossware is a personal choice; there's no right or wrong answer here. Before investing, though, we advise putting yourself in the shoes of your employees. If you think that you will face a lot of backlash for installing Bossware, then you might want to reconsider. After all, employee wellbeing is essential to a well-run business.  Moreover, if you plan to have your people back in the office more and more, then Bossware won't be necessary. This software is best deployed in companies that are wholly or primarily remote. 

What to do if you plan to monitor your employeesBossware can be an effective tool for improving employee productivity, but it needs to be used ethically. You have to uphold your employee's privacy and security. This means letting them know about the monitoring software before you deploy it. You should be clear about exactly what you are monitoring, how the software works and what data you will store.  As well as this, you must configure the software so that it is only active during work hours. It would be unfair on your employees to monitor them in their free time.  Remember that there are other ways to improve employee productivity while working from home too. There are several less invasive solutions out there that can help to improve team collaboration and communication. We advise speaking with an IT consultant to find out more. 

Improve work from home productivity with Texas I.T. ProsEmpower your employees to be more productive while working remotely by harnessing the power of technology. Reach out to us if your Denton or Wise County business is looking for remote employee productivity solutions. Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.