Most employers are monitoring your online activity; ‘Tattleware’ makes it worse

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AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) – The thought of your boss checking in on you every minute just to make sure you’re still working may sound like a nightmare scenario, but for many, it’s their reality.

Online tools are being used by employers with remote workers, and it’s becoming more common as the pandemic drags on.

A survey published by Express VPN earlier this year found 78% of employers reported using employee-monitoring software to track worker performance and/or online activity.

The software that enables employers to monitor their workers has several less-than-flattering names, with “tattleware” and “bossware” being among them.

Texas-based ActiveOps designs this type of monitoring software. CEO Spencer O’Leary said it has productive uses, but companies can also abuse it.

“Some organizations have decided they want to measure every second of every minute of every day of an employee’s working time,” he said. “They’re the type of organization that wants to entrap their workforce.”

Unsurprisingly, employees don’t like this.

The Express VPN survey also found 59% of employees reported feeling stress and/or anxiety about their employers using these monitoring tools.

“Employees vote with their feet,” O’Leary said. “Some employers have decided not to tell their employees that they’re doing these things [and] when they do find out, and they will, they’re just voting with their feet and leave to work for somebody else.”

O’Leary said it’s much more valuable to simply measure what gets done by the end of the day, rather than whether or not an employee is constantly sitting at their desk.

“Production, how much work I get done, and well-being, making sure the employees are okay — if employers do that, I think this level of monitoring can be a real positive experience for everybody.”

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