Here's How Employers Can Track Your Work From Home
Companies are using screenshots and keylogging to monitor remote workers.
It’s no secret the pandemic has changed how we function as a society, including how we work.
Depending on your field, technology has made it possible for many people around the globe to work from the comfort of their homes, limiting the need to commute to the office. However, it’s important to note that although you’re in the privacy of your home, your employer can technically keep tabs on you if you either use your company’s computer or your company’s network, server or email accounts.
A Los Angeles Times report breaks down five common methods companies use to monitor remote workers, including using a time-tracking system. Clocking in and out can let your employer know when your computer has been inactive. At some companies, a time-tracking system can even intervene with your hours if you’re inactive for longer than you should be. Let’s say you’re away from your laptop for a long period of time, it can log you off, which can then intervene with the amount of hours you worked and possibly affect your pay.
Another way employers can track your work at home is by monitoring your internet activity. If your employer uses a monitoring software, chances are they can track your emails, apps and websites to see what you’re talking about or see how much time you spend on each platform. This means if you’re using company time to surf the web or to use your personal social media accounts, they can see it.
There are some companies that take screenshots at any moment — it can be at a set time or at random. One company to use this feature is Boost Media. However, some snapshots can be deleted before it gets to a higher-up. “We realize that mistakes can be made,” said Jeff Pulvino, chief executive at Boost Media, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “It’s easy to forget that you’re logged in and check your personal bank account.”
Some companies may even keep tabs via webcam or microphone activation. According to Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group, two out of 10 programs studied so far have this feature.
Finally, there’s keylogging. Employers can keep track on perhaps how much an employee spends time chatting on their computer. Logging keystrokes can let your boss know everything from what was typed to how much was typed. Whether it was deleted or not, administrators can access it all.
While employers’ main reason for tracking your work at home is to boost and monitor productivity, to help keep your personal life private, consider only using your company’s devices and any work-specific application for work-related matters.
While you’re at it, here are six tips for staying sane and productive while working from home.