One of the technologies that has been in the press lately, is tracking software spying on staff, one of which takes screenshots as the user sits in front of their screen, watching what they’re doing at that point in time.

Tracking software spying on employees

Martin Roberts Managing Director

When I first heard of it I thought, “How awful. An expression I often use is, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. This is one of those technologies, which as a co-owner of a businessI’d be really disappointed if I felt the need to do this, because it would show that there’s a lack of trust between the business and our people.

It certainly wouldn’t be a successful business when you talk about trust and giving people the right things to do, the right motivations, tasks and attitude, and if you’re a good employer, you employ good people. Part of your selection process is to make sure candidates are motivated and willing to do things that they want to do for the organisation, for their colleagues and the greater good. You say, “This is what we like to do and this is how we do it“, and then carry out the task at handWe assume everything’s going well with our people until we hear that it isn’t. 

Tracking Software – A good use of resources?

Unfortunately, if a business spends resources on checking on its own people to make sure they are doing the jobs they were employed to do, it means there is a disconnect somewhere. Any money you want to spend on IT and technology right now, in particular, should be spent on defending your business from bad people, external hackers and scammers, rather than defending your business from your own people, because that’s effectively what you’re doing.  

What volume of tracking using the software to spy on employees have you got to do to make sure you’re getting the right picture? As an example, a lot of our people will be working on one screen, while on a second screen they could be doing some web browsing, I personally do it all the time! Is it relevant to my work? Not always, but I’m still using my time effectively: it’s all about balance and trust.  

At the moment, we are all continually learning by changing our habits to working from homeI was recently phoned three times and each time I missed the call as I was in another room, it was just unfortunate timing, but they were beginning to think I was ignoring them. It shows if you judged somebody by looking at three screenshots from throughout the day and they happened to be away from their screen, you could get the wrong impression quite easily 

Tracking software spying on employees

If a disciplinary process beganimagine how frustrated that’d make you feel, as an employee, that someone has spied on you and put those resources, the cost and time into checking up on you – it’s an awful thingif I worked for a company that was doing that, I would soon be out the door. 

We have measures in our business, that help us to understand how our team are getting on. Targets are set managing how quickly we answer the phone, respond and close helpdesk calls, as well as our customer satisfaction rating. 

They work well for us, wcheck them on a general macro level to see that the business is heading in the right direction, and then only if we see a spike in performance, will we dip into the detail. We’ll try and understand if someone’s having a challenging time on a certain phone call, or they could be having a tough time in their personal life. We’ll help them out by communicating and trying to solve the problem with them, which is the right way to do it, rather than spying on people. 

It puts that image in your head, do you want to probe and inform on people? No you don’t, it’s a dreadful idea, it must be demotivational, makes employees feel paranoid, and I can’t imagine it’s a good way to run a business.  

Increase communications if you feel somebody is struggling, go about it in the right way. Set targets, at a group level, macro level and company level and making sure you work towards achieving those targets together! Offer what help you can in making sure those targets are understood and how the company can go about achieving them, that’s the best way forward. 

If you require any further tips to work from home safely, get in touch with us today via phone on 01283 753 333 or email at