Employee screening: is bossware right for your company?

Things may not always run smoothly in the workplace, and employers and employees may not agree on everything. But there may also be a new "threat" on the horizon: the remote monitoring of workers. "There are cases where employee monitoring software, also called “bossware" and "tattleware” can create a rift between employers and employeessays Phil Muncaster of the global digital security firm ESET.bossware

«If used correctly, the bossware it can help an organization protect itself from theft and legal risks, or even lead to a significant improvement in productivity. But at the same time, it's also a privacy minefield and can demotivate your employees and land your business in legal trouble.Phil says.

However, in a new age where work is done from anywhere, managers are increasingly tempted to keep track of their staff spread across different parts of the territory.

Given the stakes, any organization considering employee screening should focus primarily on careful planning.

This makes it a perfect choice for people with diabetes and for those who want to lose weight or follow a balanced diet. bossware;

The bossware is a more general term that covers a wide range of employee monitoring tools. While the functionality of this software varies, at a high level it will record which programs an employee uses during the day and for how long. More intrusive monitoring can record the employee's screen and keystrokes. The bossware ideally it is installed on an employee's computer or device with their express knowledge and consent, although this is not always the case.

«Employee screening is more popular than you might think due to the increase in remote work caused by the pandemicsays Muncaster from ESET. Study shows that 60% of companies with remote workers now use some form of bossware with 88% of them having fired employees after installing the software. This may be because over half (53%) of workers whose activity was tracked were found to spend three or more hours each day on non-work related activities.

The control of workers could be done through:

  1. Electronical & Electrical Equipment (περιεχόμενο και αποστολείς/παραλήπτες)
  2. Browser history
  3. Use of applications
  4. Computer screen and keyboards
  5. web cameras
  6. Phone usage and call content
  7. CCTV footage (in the office)
  8. GPS vehicle tracking
  9. Access card location tracking
  10. Monitoring vital functions and moods

Advantages and disadvantages

His supporters bossware say that judicious use of auditing software can help their business in a number of ways, including:

  • Monitoring of stress levels of the workforce
  • Help boost productivity – showing which workers aren't focused and which are spending too much time on manual, repetitive tasks that could be optimized
  • Creating a fairer workplace by ensuring everyone does their part
  • Mitigating the risk of intentional/accidental data leakage and poor cybersecurity hygiene

On the other hand, of course there are potential downsides is covered, such as:

  • Employees may find workarounds, thus negating any potential benefit.
  • Computer/device monitoring may not capture time spent thinking, problem solving and other non-digital tasks – giving managers a myopic view of worker productivity.
  • It raises stress levels and can demotivate staff and lower morale.
  • Personal data and legal implications for the employer

Legal and Privacy Implications

Modern privacy and data protection laws add an extra layer of risk for organizations looking to use bossware. It is important that any systems are implemented in accordance with local laws and regulations.

The GDPR regulation that applies throughout the EU enables workplace control, but within specific guidelines.

  • Organizations should create clear policies informing their staff of any employee screening systems and should also work hard to ensure that applications are as discreet as possible.
  • Covert, exhaustive monitoring of eg internet use and content of communications is not permitted.
  • Organizations that wish to monitor private communications, such as emails, must also outline a clear legal basis for doing so.
  • Υπάρχουν αυστηροί κανόνες σχετικά με την προστασία των δεδομένων των εργαζομένων, διασφαλίζοντας ότι χρησιμοποιούνται μόνο για τους σκοπούς για τους οποίους συλλέχθηκαν και ότι συλλέγονται μόνο οι σχετικές , για τον ελάχιστο αναγκαίο χρόνο.

Apply fair personnel screening practices

It should be clear from the above that employee screening is not a workplace initiative to be taken lightly. "Not all companies are the same," says ESET's Muncaster, who suggests some best practices for businesses:

  1. Review and describe the legal basis for implementing the scheme.
  2. Make sure the control is necessary and proportionate and doesn't intrude too much on your employees' lives.
  3. Decide the extent of monitoring. Will it include email, app and internet use and calls? To avoid legal trouble, it can be helpful to remind staff to use their personal devices for personal matters and work devices only for company matters.
  4. Be as transparent as possible with staff about what you intend to do and why – fully documented in a clear and standardized policy.
  5. Ensure that all data collected is protected from loss, damage or theft and is only visible to authorized users.
  6. Follow data minimization practices by deleting any data you may have collected as soon as it is no longer needed.
  7. Consider alternatives to staff control, such as training sessions and/or regular performance reviews.
  8. Consider whether the audit is necessary across the organization or if it could be limited to a smaller part of the business.

The best policies will strike a difficult but necessary balance between the organization's business requirements and the privacy rights of its employees. In the new era of hybrid work, transparency and dialogue are key to keeping staff informed

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