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Monitoring staff – employers should not expect to see staff chained to their desks all day

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has today published a report on views and attitudes to the monitoring of staff working from home.

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Published 20 October 2022

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  • Specialisms
  • Business
  • Services
  • Data Protection
  • Employment law for employees
  • Employment law for employers

It reports that over half of bosses agree that at least one form of monitoring for home workers is acceptable to identify burnout.

Bosses (CEOs, partners, owners) were found to be more likely in favour of monitoring compared to senior managers, with HR staff being the least enthusiastic about it.

Collection of this data can be vital to some businesses, and it is possible for employers to justify these practices.

Indeed, many businesses have been monitoring individual productivity for some time and well before the explosion of home working. For example, in the legal sector, this data is used as the basis for charging clients.

But employers must consider and respect the data rights of workers. Where monitoring is necessary and justified, they must ensure staff are aware it is going on and put in place the appropriate notices and policies. The purpose for which monitoring is conducted and the data is collected is key to justifying an employer’s conduct.

There is a risk that staff perceive even light monitoring as far more invasive, particularly if they are being monitored in their home. So employers need to ensure they act proportionately and explain to staff the justification for monitoring.

When analysing this data, employers need to be aware that modes of work have changed over recent years. Traditional forms of working have been disrupted by the spread of positive physical and mental health practices and replaced with more flexible and agile modes of working.

Employers should not expect to see staff chained to their desk for the entire working day, but should look at outcomes and achievements when considering productivity.

For more information, consult our Employment page.

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Shorter Reads

Monitoring staff – employers should not expect to see staff chained to their desks all day

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has today published a report on views and attitudes to the monitoring of staff working from home.

Published 20 October 2022

Associated sectors / services

Authors

It reports that over half of bosses agree that at least one form of monitoring for home workers is acceptable to identify burnout.

Bosses (CEOs, partners, owners) were found to be more likely in favour of monitoring compared to senior managers, with HR staff being the least enthusiastic about it.

Collection of this data can be vital to some businesses, and it is possible for employers to justify these practices.

Indeed, many businesses have been monitoring individual productivity for some time and well before the explosion of home working. For example, in the legal sector, this data is used as the basis for charging clients.

But employers must consider and respect the data rights of workers. Where monitoring is necessary and justified, they must ensure staff are aware it is going on and put in place the appropriate notices and policies. The purpose for which monitoring is conducted and the data is collected is key to justifying an employer’s conduct.

There is a risk that staff perceive even light monitoring as far more invasive, particularly if they are being monitored in their home. So employers need to ensure they act proportionately and explain to staff the justification for monitoring.

When analysing this data, employers need to be aware that modes of work have changed over recent years. Traditional forms of working have been disrupted by the spread of positive physical and mental health practices and replaced with more flexible and agile modes of working.

Employers should not expect to see staff chained to their desk for the entire working day, but should look at outcomes and achievements when considering productivity.

For more information, consult our Employment page.

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