how companies monitor home office employees

At a time when the return to face-to-face work has become hand-wringing between companies and employeestools of home office monitoringwhich have already spread to United States and so on Europe, quickly gained strength in the country. Devices work as a species “Big Brother” corporate world. Everything is needed to ensure productivity: take a photo of an employee, his screen, or even record everything a person types on a computer keyboard.

To track employees while working remotely, companies track everything from search history to geolocation. Take photos: Daniel Teixeira/Estadão

To Estadão, employees of companies that use this type of supervision service report situations of surprises in practice and tensions between team members. Most of the companies operating in this market are foreign, but there are Brazilian startups exploring this market, which has experienced a “boom” with covid-19 pandemicwhich forced millions of people to work remotely.

One of the Brazilian companies that has the tools to implement the “corporate Big Brother” is monitorcreated in 2019 Murilo Rodrigues and Alexandre Cunha. From ten customers in the portfolio before the pandemic, the number has jumped to 700 today, from a wide variety of sectors.

Our conflict was how far we could monitor without violating privacy.”

Murilo Rodrigues, founder of Monitoo

According to Rodrigues, Monitoo was created by thinking about the demand identified in IT companies, which wanted to monitor the productivity of their employees – even when they all worked in-house. “Our conflict was how far we could monitor without violating privacy,” he says.

The company’s tool monitors programs and pages opened by an employee and uses algorithms to separate them from what can be considered productive or unproductive. This selection varies depending on the company’s sector of activity. “The tool is used by direct managers and HR, but it can also be used by the employee himself to know how he spends his time. There are people who have a harder time staying focused,” he said.

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Monitoo screen: The purpose is to capture employee productivity.

But the surveillance does not stop there. There are much more invasive options on the market, which go beyond counting working hours and productivity. THE kickidler, with headquarters in Cyprusbut which operates in Brazil, records a video of the employee’s computer screen, automatically notifies when “workplace violations” are detected, delay or access to sites classified as prohibited.

The company designs, for example, a “pop-up” alert that reminds the employee to do something he could not do during working hours. Asked, the company did not return a request for an interview.

There are no studies in Brazil that show the extent of the use of this type of tool by companies, but there are indications that their use is gradually increasing. In the United States, to give you an idea, it is estimated that 6 out of 10 companies use some type of surveillance, according to a survey conducted by

I was also followed outside of working hours.”

marketing officer

Smile! They are recording you

On social networks, it is not difficult to find reports of Brazilian workers who were surprised to discover that the company they work for is virtually monitoring their every move. Company employee Santander – who prefers not to be identified – says he was already used to the idea of ​​security cameras monitoring the environment, but he was surprised by the news that his computer was under surveillance all the time.

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“A person at work told me that he has access to everything we see on the computer. Except for the cameras, because there is one behind my computer,” says the Spanish bank employee. – That’s the real Big Brother.

When asked about its monitoring practices, Santander said in a note that it “monitors the correct use of the bank’s tools, with employee consent.” As reported, the purpose of the practice is to “ensure the security of confidential or legally protected information, as well as compliance with ethical and corporate conduct in accordance with compliance standards.”

Monitoring must be known to the employee and included in the employment contract or individual agreement.”

Antonio Carlos Pereira Neto, partner in Terciotta Andrade Gomes Donato Advogados, Antonio Carlos Pereira Neto

In times of remote work, knowing whether an employee is working efficiently or procrastinating has become a concern for companies. In some cases, even the location of cell phones and computers was analyzed. This happened in Deloitte Brazil. To monitor worker performance, the company periodically checks the employee’s location on an institutional computer, according to a former company employee, who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

He says that the workers could not “keep the clock” practically away from home, since the address communicated to the company for remote work had to be respected. “There was a period where we had to register, with geolocation, even lunch and coffee breaks, with entry and exit,” he recalls. “The bosses were up there watching if we were working from home.” When contacted, Deloitte stated that its relationships “with its experts are based on trust.”

“It was under this premise that we implemented, even before the pandemic, a work model that allowed remote work some days of the week that has evolved into what we call the ‘Digital Workplace’, allowing flexibility in the way we work for our experts.” . He also stated that because of this established trust, the company “does not have the goal of controlling where its experts access the system, since they can work from home, from the client in the context of the digital workplace.”

After sending employees home during the pandemic, companies are debating whether to return to the office while trying to keep an eye on productivity at home.
After sending employees home during the pandemic, companies are debating whether to return to the office while trying to keep an eye on productivity at home. Take photos: Daniel Teixeira/Estadão

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For the sales assistant, who also did not want to be identified, the case ended up putting pressure on workers – despite the fact that people at her company had been told there would be cell phone and computer monitoring.

During the time she worked at the company, the employee reported cases of excessive supervision outside of working hours. “The cell phone I got had a tracker, it tracked the calls, messages and apps I used. I was also followed outside of working hours,” she says.

For Carlos Eduardo Altonaconsulting partner Assoc, the use of these monitoring tools should be a passing thing, to be replaced by more refined management strategies. According to him, this is something that has already been discussed between companies and HR professionals.

According to the Exec partner, in the future, software of this type will only be needed to manage highly strategic positions, which will continue to perform work 100% remotely. “In general, companies will need to establish more sophisticated tools that can measure employee performance without necessarily recording it,” says Altona.

Tracking is cool, but there are rules

ON partner in Terciotta Andrade Gomes Donato Advogados, Antonio Carlos Pereira Neto, reminds that remote work supervision is regulated by a temporary measure that regulates hybrid work. This tracking, which can only be done through “login” and “logout” of the computer, is highlighted, waived when the contract is for production or for a specific job.

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“Monitoring should be known to the employee and included in the employment contract or individual agreement,” he explains. This supervision, he emphasizes, cannot embarrass the employee and must be in accordance with General Act on the Protection of Personal Data (ZZOPD).

According to Exec’s Altona, companies that use employee tracking strategies using screen recording software, photos, and access to research history must be transparent, always informing employees of the practice. “The more documented it is, the better the company will protect itself (from labor lawsuits),” he emphasizes.

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