With home working now well established, many companies are finding new ways to monitor the productivity of their employees often with intrusive spyware, says technology editor Alex Hern
The shift to home working in the past months, exacerbated by new national lockdowns across the UK this week, has meant office staff adopting new ways of interacting with their employers. Where there has been flexibility to fit work around childcare at some companies, others have taken a more draconian approach, closely monitoring what employees are doing.
The Guardian’s UK technology editor, Alex Hern, tells Anushka Asthana that in the course of his reporting he has found firms requiring webcams and microphones be activated all day, with some going a step further and using bespoke spyware to follow their employees online activities during work hours. With many companies looking to cut costs and to closer evaluate their staffing productivity, the phenomenon of employee monitoring has been accelerated by the pandemic, but it is likely to long outlast it. But as power shifts further from employee to employer, is there any way workers can fight back?