Big Brother in the United States – Surveillance in the Home Office

In the United States, many companies are struggling with their employees’ newfound freedom in the home office. It is not easy to measure how effectively work is still being done. That’s where the software is supervised, like Dustin, a clerk in a marketing department. He says his bosses told him that if he wanted to work from home, they would have to keep an eye on him. The results were rather negative, as they say. Dustin worked in California at one of the largest tech companies in the world. For three years he endured a supervised job with increasing pressure. “Everyone was afraid of being fired, there was a lot of internal struggle to be able to focus properly on work. For me, this created fears that would damage the company culture.”

Decreased performance often in the home office

The picture is different for employers. Miranda is an office manager at a small software company in Nevada. Your current task is to find such monitoring software. Reason: “Our employees don’t work when they say they do. This is a current problem in our company. We’ve received complaints from customers that say: Hey, your team doesn’t communicate well. The employees did too. Complained that coworkers are hard to reach.” As of now, the small company has only online registration and de-registration option for employees, but no further controls. This should change now. The new software will provide insights into all emails and take automated screen shots for certain keywords.

Programs smell too “deep”

Miranda supports monitoring software, but not unreservedly. She says the level of oversight often violates employee privacy. “99 percent of the programs that are out there go deeper, they monitor staff 24/7, take full screen captures. And then there’s also the option to record sound. So if I wanted to, I could do all the conversations. could see, listen to the companions.”

Research from the New York Times has shown that workers working from home sometimes have access to a webcam, which takes a photo every ten minutes. If he is not sitting in front of the PC at the time of the picture, but is probably in the toilet or having a glass of water, then there is no reward for these ten minutes.

Everyday Surveillance Software in America

One of the larger companies offering monitoring software is Awareness Technologies. Managing Director Elizabeth Harz explains that the market for their products has grown significantly since the pandemic. He estimates that 80 percent of companies now have some sort of monitoring program in place. He said that most of the people will also tell their employees about this in detail. According to Harz, such software is also being used more in schools. “I would say people in America are getting used to it.”

Managing director refers to the perceived benefits of programs as they are sold. She considers data coming from software to be more reliable than human impressions. “This technology can reduce bias.” Harz gives the example of a single parent. Many co-workers would probably think that it would be very unproductive if she left the house every evening at 5 o’clock. He may have finished his workload by then. Or she works again later in the evening when the rest of the staff is playing baseball or sleeping.

Monitoring as a motivating factor

Another potential benefit is pointed out by Dennis Heckhausen, who works at another major monitoring software vendor. Heckhausen says he runs the software himself all the time. He says he logs into the program every morning to see if he was productive the day before. If he hasn’t achieved that much, he sees that too, and he says the data can help motivate himself. Plus, the program can also help protect against overwork, because you can see how much work you’ve already done. One way or another, while the recording of time at the workplace is being carefully discussed in this country, monitoring at work has already become commonplace in the United States.


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