Many people have heard that warehouse workers and employees of companies like Nemlig.com and Amazon are meticulously monitored and evaluated on the job. But the fact that office workers can be looked over their shoulders by their employers and have their performance evaluated with a wide range of monitoring software is news to many.
If you spend a large part of your working life in front of a screen, almost all software systems, from operating systems to programmes and apps, can store log data. And this information can potentially be used by employers to evaluate your productivity, well-being and behaviour.
IDA has compiled a list of some of the software solutions used both at home and abroad to monitor employees at work. The list is partly based on the report "Digital surveillance und Kontrolle am Arbeitsplatz" compiled by Christl Wolfie of the independent research organisation Cracked Labs, as well as reports from the British trade union TUC.
The US organisation Coworker has released a searchable Bossware and Employment Tech database with over 550 tech products designed to monitor employee productivity, well-being or digital behaviour.
If you want to share your experience with monitoring at work, please write to us at email@example.com.
What is it? Forcepoint's software claims to be able to assess whether employees are in financial difficulties, whether their work performance has declined, whether they are planning to quit, how much they communicate with colleagues and whether there is a general negative mood in their communication.
What can it do? Forcepoint monitors any use of devices and applications, any viewing or modification of a file, any communication via email, chat or phone, websites visited, search terms, printers and physical access to offices. In addition, it logs GPS locations, activation of the camera and microphone on the computer, recordings of screen content and keystrokes.
What is it? Celonis can evaluate employee work activities from other operational systems such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce.
What can it do? Celonis offers to record screen content, keystrokes, mouse clicks, scrolling and even the contents of the clipboard using spyware installed on employees' computers. This, according to Celonis, allows companies to "uncover inefficiencies in manual work patterns" and "measure and optimise your employees' productivity".
What is it? Humanyze markets a small device with sensors worn on the body, similar to an intelligent access card. Based on behavioural data from the devices and other operational systems such as Microsoft, SAP, Workday or Salesforce, as well as Slack and Zoom, the data is analysed and a so-called "organisational health score" is calculated, which, according to Humanyze, measures the effectiveness of an organisation. It measures performance, engagement and the adaptability of the workforce.
What can it do? Humanyze's wearable device detects speech, social interactions and body movements using a microphone, infrared sensor and Bluetooth sensor.
Humanyze assures that the system does not assess what people are talking about - but how much they talk, how often they interrupt others or how loudly they speak. The Bluetooth sensor measures who is moving where and who is meeting whom and how often. Based on the data from the infrared sensor and Bluetooth, it is possible, for example, to analyse the social networks between employees.
What is it? Prewave is an Austrian startup that offers software to evaluate and monitor employees' social media activities - both when recruiting and for existing employees.
What can it do? The system can be used to evaluate employees' behaviour outside the employment relationship and can, for example, predict intentions to change jobs or reveal whether employees have profiles on job portals.
The systems can also measure the degree of identification with the company, the strength of your social network or the mood among employees. Prewave, an Austrian start-up, also offers to predict labour disruptions and other issues that could affect the supply chain based on social media data.
What is it? Performetric was originally developed for esports - that is, professional computer gamers - as a "mental fatigue management software". Now it promises to calculate key indicators of mental fatigue levels among call centre workers.
What can it do? Performetric software evaluates data on your typing behaviour and mouse movements. A product video shows how the calculated level of fatigue is determined in relation to key call centre metrics such as the number of phone calls handled and their average length.
Assessments can be carried out for the whole workforce, for teams or individuals. Employees can view the fatigue assessments themselves and receive notifications designed to help avoid burnout and improve "performance and mental health". According to the manufacturer, an individual profile is created for each person to calculate the degree of fatigue.
What is it? Hubstaff offers a tool that measures the activity level of employees when working at a screen.
What can it do? The employee downloads the programme, which keeps meticulous time records and "runs quietly in the background" while monitoring your activity. Among other things, the programme shows which websites and apps employees are using. Hubstaff can also take screenshots of employees' screens.
Hubstaff emphasises that it sells "legal monitoring software" that tracks employees' keyboard and mouse use, but that employees are in control of their own data.
What is it? Occupeye is a system that uses sensors, motion detectors and wireless internet to help optimise the use of office workspaces, saving energy and making more efficient use of space.
What can it do? Occupeye can monitor which laptops, smartphones and tablets are present in the workplace and where they are travelling.
Occupeye, now part of FM Systems, can be mounted under desks, on walls, on the ceiling or under chairs and, in addition to an infrared motion detector, includes sensors to measure temperature, air quality, noise level, light intensity and humidity. The presence of employees at desks can be displayed at an individual level in real time.
What is it? Teramind is an analysis tool that can alert the employer if an employee is unproductive for an extended period of time.
What can it do? Teramind offers a complete overview of all employees' activities on their computers in real time. The programme can also record employees' activities and replay it later.
Teramind can monitor the content of emails, website visits, file transfers, messages, printer activity and online meetings, among other things.
The programme can identify the productivity of each employee and analyse their work habits. The employer receives alerts and can send messages when an employee is unproductive for long periods of time.
What is it? InterGuard Employee Monitoring is a product that enables the employer to monitor all details of employee productivity in real time with the motto: "So you'll know if they are working hard or hardly working".
What can it do? The programme shows how each employee spends their time and which apps and websites they use. This is done through screenshots and video recordings of all online activities. InterGuard can be set to take screenshots when certain words are typed or at set time intervals determined by the employer. In addition, all changes to documents are recorded, and emails can be recovered even if they have been deleted. Chat messages on Skype, WhatsApp and Slack can also be monitored.
All actions are logged, analysed and indexed - even when the employee is not connected to the network.
The solution also makes it possible to record and filter web activity and block websites such as porn, gambling, videos, social networking and shopping sites. By comparing screenshots with the logged activities, the employer obtains "the necessary context and - if necessary - irrefutable evidence".
What is it? Microsoft's products cover a wide range of areas and combine them in the cloud-based Microsoft 365.
What can it do? Microsoft 365 continuously stores data about activities, communications, and behaviour in the cloud. In addition to collecting data on phone use, video communications, chats, and channel usage, Microsoft Teams offers additional features for structuring and managing work tasks, as well as information on who created, modified, opened, or shared a file and when.
Communication and calendaring applications such as SharePoint and Outlook also store activity data, and when combined with the Windows 11 operating system, it becomes a comprehensive system that documents the daily work of millions of people around the globe.
Microsoft also offers products such as Microsoft Viva and Workplace Analytics, which analyse workforce communication behaviour and collaborative relationships and, according to the manufacturer, link communication, knowledge, learning, resources and insights into the work process. They include, for example, the following evaluations: