The recent coronavirus crisis has only put more emphasis on ‘Empathy’. Managers are now required to focus more on the overall mental and physical well-being of their employees. They also need to care for their employees’ personal circumstances to nurture resilience and mitigate stress. Human emotions fail to transfer in digital environments. Showing empathy for employees can be some tricky balancing act. You need to check them frequently, emotional well-being and identify personal circumstances. At the same time, you are expected to respect their privacy. There are available tools that allow you to track activity on computer .
Ethical and legal issues
A few issues might be ethical and not legal where common sense will not suffice. During working hours, scheduling remote meetings at the office will pose no legal issues. But when work-from-home employees are concerned, it is necessary to consider their personal circumstances. At times, the issues may be digital. Switching to virtual meetings from analogue ones may cause productivity drops. Hence, besides having good leadership elements, managers are expected to be connecting, inspiring and understand well their teams. When entering people’s homes virtually using remote software, they should do it with moral and regulatory implications!
The remote tool kit allows employers to deploy some commonly available tools like screen capture, keystroke monitoring, tracking traffic over VPN connection, email monitoring, etc. It also includes the non-work software or programs operating. The objective here is to ensure safe company data. Managers also get to know what their employees have been doing while they work from their home.
How it is viewed by employees?
The fact is that employees might lack the knowledge of their computer or laptop being under heightened surveillance. It is quite natural for employees to be monitored while working at the traditional workstations. But their expectations while working outside the office premises are likely to differ. They would expect higher degree of privacy. Historically, home is considered to be separate from the office. People in general prefer to pursue their choices, lifestyles, beliefs, browsing histories, politics, etc. Something not concerned with their employers.
It is the duty of the employer to strength trust-based relationship with the employees at a time, when there is rampant corporate and societal dislocation. Company data security is important and so is respecting employee privacy. Hence, being transparent with the adoption of remote monitoring tool with the employees will benefit both the parties. Also read here to know how you can improve your WFH employees!