Over the last 18 months, a new activity monitoring tool to track employee productivity has taken the world by storm. It’s called bossware, and it’s pretty controversial.
Advocates of this solution say that bossware is excellent for monitoring employee productivity in the remote working world. On the other hand, critics call bossware an invasive piece of surveillance software.
Some of the biggest companies in the world are known to use bossware, including Groupon, Ericsson, Verizon, Arizona State University and Emory University, according to EFF.
With so many high-profile advocates of bossware, you might think this productivity monitoring software sounds like a good idea.
Below, we’ll explore how bossware works in more detail and give you advice on how to use surveillance software responsibly.
What is bossware and why might you need it?
When the pandemic hit, many businesses suddenly changed their operation models, moving from office-based work to remote working. Even though things are starting to look up, the way employees work has changed for good. BBC research, for example, found that 70% of people think it’s unlikely they’ll return to the office full-time.
While working from home has numerous benefits, such as less time spent commuting and a better work-life balance, it can also be challenging for employers and managers to gauge employee productivity levels.
This is where bossware comes in; it’s a productivity monitoring software built for the age of remote work, enabling managers and employers to actively monitor employees productivity through data analytics and automation.
For managers that are concerned about managing their people remotely, bossware is a great potential solution. It can help with time management, tracking work hours, and even seeing what applications your employees are using.
However, this productivity monitoring software is pretty controversial. Here’s why.
- Sensitive data collection: Bossware works by analyzing the websites, social media and applications your employees interact with. To do this, it collects a wealth of sensitive data that include chat messages, biometric data and even private passwords, which is an obvious risk to data security.
- Risks of unfair treatment: Companies that use bossware need to be very careful about their ethics. There’s speculation that bossware could be used to conduct covert investigations on employees.
- Privacy infringement: Constant monitoring and surveillance may leave employees feeling on edge and stressed.
- Bring your own device controversy: Employees that use their own devices for work may reject the idea of having bossware remotely installed on their devices.
Should I invest in Bossware?
Whether or not you deploy a productivity monitoring tool is a choice that’s unique to your company. If you are concerned about your employees’ productivity in the remote working world, then bossware could help you.
On the other hand, if you think your employees have adjusted well to remote working and their productivity hasn’t gone downhill, then you might not need bossware.
The main thing to bear in mind is that, if you start employee monitoring, you go about it ethically and fairly.
How to use bossware responsibly
As we’ve said, the sensitive data that bossware collects means that careful considerations need to be made before using this employee monitoring tool. While activity monitoring can certainly boost employee productivity and help with time keeping, employee monitoring is a touchy subject and could easily lead to low levels of employee satisfaction.
Here is what you need to bear in mind.
- Be clear and transparent: You should create a written, easy-to-understand policy explaining how your employee monitoring software works. Alongside this, we advise hosting demo sessions to help your employees understand the tool and its benefits in terms of time tracking.
- Focus on the positives: A solid activity monitoring solution can help you manage your people better, ensuring that workloads are spread evenly among your team. Focus on these benefits as you sell the solution.
- Put rigorous measures in place: For security purposes, you need to make sure that bossware is configured only to monitor your employees during their work hours and only on workplace applications. Horror stories about private passwords being leaked simply shouldn’t happen – and they can be avoided with the right deployment model.
There are many different bossware solutions out there – some more benign than others. We advise speaking to our team so you can get a deeper understanding of the marketplace.
Remember, too, that bossware isn’t the only solution to boost employee productivity in the remote working world. There are a host of collaboration tools and less invasive pieces of software that can help you, your managers and your employees to stay productive no matter where they are.
Keep Your Remote Team Secure and Supported
Unity IT can help your Fresno area business ensure you have the tools you need to empower and support a productive and secure remote team.
Contact us today to schedule a technology consultation at 559-297-1007 or reach out online.