With many people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have turned to remote monitoring software – also called tattleware – to get insights into worker productivity.
Typically, these programs allow companies to get an analysis of the time users spend on certain online tasks.
This is then compared with with other staff members who have the same work responsibilities.
In addition, certain programs can track inputs on the keyboard, movements of the mouse, take screenshots of a user’s computer, and even be used to read social media messages.
According to estimates from research firm Gartner, around 80% of companies worldwide have introduced a form of remote monitoring software on their employees’ computers.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr director of employee practice Phetheni Nkuna told City Press that the influx of tattleware has been particularly noticeable in the US – but it will likely spill over to South Africa.
Nkuna warned businesses they would have to ensure they did not infringe on employee privacy when using this software.
“In South Africa, no law is absolute – there are limits. It will be interesting to see how the courts handle such cases,” Nkuna said.
Only 4% want to return to the office
The impact of the switch to remote working as a COVID-19 safety measure is likely to remain long after the pandemic has passed, particularly in South Africa.
According to a recent study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, and CareerJunction, only 4% of South Africans want to work completely on-site at an office after the pandemic.
Over 53% of South African respondents said they would prefer a job which permitted them to work from home on occasion, while 44% said they wanted to work fully remotely.
“Workers and managers alike have seen that flexible work models are possible, and in fact desirable,” said BCG Johannesburg principal and recruiting director Rudi van Blerk