Employees Balking At “Tattleware”
May 19, 2020
Working remotely during the pandemic is said to be such a success that it may become the post-Covid19 norm, but there is a downside that is taking a toll on some employees’ morale. MPRNEWS talked to an e-commerce worker in her mid-twenties who received instructions from her company to install software called Hubstaff on her PC so it could track her mouse movements and keyboard strokes, and record the web pages she visited. The company’s remote workers were also required to download an app called TSheets to their phones to keep tabs on their whereabouts during work hours. An employee of a Midwestern marketing company said her employer has started using software called Time Doctor. It downloads videos of employees’ screens while they work, and can enable their computer’s webcam to take a picture of the employee every 10 minutes. After a few minutes of idleness, or a trip to the bathroom, a pop-up comes up and says, “You have 60 seconds to start working again or we’re going to pause your time.” Worker’s have started calling such software “tattleware,”but Time Doctor’s CEO bristles at that sobriquet. “If you’re not working or doing something wrong, then I guess it will tattle on you, but I don’t think that’s really how companies that are buying the software think of it, he says. The CEO of Hubstaff claims demand has tripled for his company’s monitoring software. Privacy advocates are concerned that intensified tracking, some of it due to contract tracing for the coronavirus, will normalize workplace surveillance.
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