Workplace Monitoring Technologies- Adequate or too Intrusive?

in #stem7 months ago


Workplace Monitoring Technologies- Adequate or too Intrusive?


Currently, with the working from home (WFH) revolution in full force, employee monitoring is booming as well. Productivity monitoring software is widely employed in most large companies, and this software is raising ethical questions from those who are closely tracked. The use of artificial intelligence and assessment tracking programs raise big questions for workers.

Employees are tracked while working remotely. Technology and computer software programs can monitor keystrokes, implement facial recognition software, view all websites and work completed and use cameras to surveil the worker. This technology is touted for monitoring performance and preventing unauthorized users from entering systems, but it is incredibly intrusive. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analysis platforms can prompt employees who are underperforming per KPI measurements to do better and then work with human managers for performance improvement programs. This can ultimately lead to termination due to remote monitoring that involves AI in the decision. Is this ethical? Legal?

The legality of employee monitoring depends on the location. As long as the employee agrees to the terms, the data can be used to review performance and can be analyzed by AI. Video and audio recordings of employees can be collected, but extremely tight information technology controls must be in place so that they are used appropriately. Privacy laws vary widely based on territories, but monitoring of keystrokes, website visits and productivity measurements are generally legal to collect. Remote monitoring and assessment by AI is interesting in that the assessment should be impartial, but it has been acknowledged that bias exists in AI systems as well.

Ethically, is it permissible and ethical to monitor remote employees using advanced technology? If a company pays for results and requires monitoring, it can be a part of contract law. If the AI and data analytics that are compared with KPI measurements lead to performance management, it can also be legalized. Ethically, it is intrusive, and may lead to high performing employees leaving the company. Loss of key personnel is a consideration, and those who employ us have a certain right to productivity during working hours.

Workplace computer monitoring is nothing new, but this new more strict monitoring and assessment by AI and data analytics seems much more intrusive. A middle ground should be met, with overall achievement of project deliverables as the metric. In my view, getting work completed on time and under budget should be the metric used to evaluate workers and overally intrusive monitoring can put many workers off. What do you think? How should remote workers be monitored and assessed using AI and monitoring technology?

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