How Tech is Helping HR teams to Succeed in a post-Covid world
In the pre-pandemic era, remote working was not a very popular or favourable term. All the full-time employees tended to work from the office except some part-time workers or freelancers. The interaction was generally physical, and the monitoring of employees was easy-breezy. At that time also, when everything was hassle-free, the adoption of technological advancements by organisations was increasing for greater efficiency in the business.
From financing to marketing operations, the use, impact and efficiency of technology were discernible. However, with the arrival of unprecedented Covid-19, innumerable companies across the world switched to remote working as the only viable option.
Although remote working benefited organizations in the form of reduced expenses of renting office spaces, employers were somewhat worried about the efficacy and monitoring of remote working employees. But, the avail of suitable technology helped the companies in the smooth flow of business operations. It has been more than a year to Covid-19, and most of the business operations (both core and non-core) are being done remotely with proper monitoring. So let us discuss below how the use of technology is helping out organisations in this Covid era.
Use and benefits of technology in monitoring remote working employees
When it comes to monitoring employees working from home, companies leave no stone unturned to gain maximum productivity. In the post-pandemic era, it is onerous for companies to look after their employees working from home. The level of concern about the productivity of the company is also high as there is a prolonged halt in the physical business operations due to unprecedented Covid-19. As it is well known that the pandemic is here to stay for long, it has become usual and necessary for companies to use various latest technological tools to keep an active track of their employees.
These tools have completely changed the way of monitoring employees. These are the tools that many companies were not using before the advent of Covid-19. But now, several companies are using employee monitoring software that helps in keeping track of the remote workforce. This software helps the company in knowing the tasks an employee is working on, amount of time a remote worker is spending on each task, the sites one is visiting and even to gauge the productivity of the remote workforce.
In a nutshell, the use of this software eases the knotty procedure of tracking the remote workers and gives employers greater visibility into how employees spend their time at home.
Besides employee monitoring software, some companies deploy video surveillance cameras to make sure the act of surveillance gets flaw-free. The motive behind using such cameras is to engage in video surveillance in common areas, but not private spaces and make sure remote workers don’t waste their working hours by investing their time in personal activities.
To make monitoring transparent, the camera or any recording equipment needs to be clearly perceptible and not a hidden tool. In some places, organisations are even checking up on the attentiveness of remote workers through webcams, and they call it attention tracking. With the help of webcam software, biometric data such as eye movements, facial expressions, etc., are used to evaluate whether people in the workplace are attentive towards tasks at hand.
Another prominent invention in technology for organisations, especially HR is the HR case management system. The use of outdated technology such as shared inbox and spreadsheets trackers poses many limitations. Transition to remote working further worsened the situation as losing track of employee cases, lack of workload visibility were the common issues. Therefore, to avoid using the hodgepodge of spreadsheets and shared inbox, switching to an HR case management system is the most viable option. Case management and other HR services technology help resolve these potential pain points.
A good HR case management system, with automated email-to-case creation, robust reporting capabilities and advanced tracking functionality ensures that HR service teams never lose track of a case. It not only increases the efficiency of HR services but also gives better satisfaction to the employees. They appreciate having a case number assigned to their employee question that makes the tracking of cases plain-sailing. As a result, employees get a better sense of control as they get the facility to check the status of their inquiry without having to contact HR.
Last but not least, geo-location tracking is also a technology used these days by organisations. Some companies issue smartphones that have geo-location features in them. It allows the company to track the physical movements and location of remote workers. Such smartphones show the equipment locations within a few feet and track the time spent there.
Are strict monitoring systems intruding into the privacy of remote workers?
With more people working discretely from home, the line of demarcation between official and personal activities has blurred due to a lack of professional touch. With advanced monitoring technology, the work-life balance has been further disturbed because employees are concerned about their privacy. In some employee monitoring software, if remote workers intermingle personal and official activities on the company equipment, that can expose private information to the supervisors and management.
According to a study, 73% of employees feel that using monitoring software and other tools in the workplace would damage trust between them and their employers, while 43% are concerned that introducing advanced technological tools in monitoring remote workers could make it easier for their privacy to be violated. However, that’s not the universal case with every software. Some software give remote workers the option to log out while visiting non-work websites or checking personal emails. This way, it allows them to regain their complete privacy. The level of monitoring varies from company to company.
The purpose of introducing monitoring tools is two-fold: keeping track of employees productivity and performance and protecting businesses from any harm they could be exposed to due to data leaks or fraud. Monitoring tools provide useful insights to the employers into how work is being done and how companies can support their employees.
With the lapse of time, the use of monitoring tools is increasing because Covid-19 is here with us to stay. But, to take care of employees’ privacy, it is highly suggested to give remote workers their personal space that will help in maintaining a good work-life balance and efficacy of the remote workforce. There should also be complete transparency in using all the tools to avoid any legal complications.
( The article has been authored Chayan Mukhopadhyay, Co-founder and CEO and Himanshu Aggarwal, Co-founder and CTO, Qandle, an HR tech company, and the views expressed in this article are their own)