How to Effectively Spy On & Monitor Your Employees (Part 2)

Recent technological advancements allow us the freedom to work from anywhere and at any time. More commonly, employers are allowing and encouraging their employees to do just that, working at all sorts of times from all sorts of places. This freedom allows both the employee and the employer to “check in” at all hours as the typical confines of a traditional eight-hour work day fall away. All time becomes potential work time. The ability for the employee to work from home and to make their own schedule is appealing at first. It often isn’t until later that it is realized what effects it can have on the demand for their time and availability.

How We Drive Our Employees to Self-Employment

The pressure to always be available or to always be “at work” is increasing our employee dissatisfaction while also decreasing our employee vacation use, leaving more employees overworked and unhappy. Then, on top of that, the perceived need to spy on, monitor and/or manage every minute of our employee’s work lives is driving them not just to another employer but in many cases to pursue work as an independent contractor or freelance worker instead of keeping a permanent job with their current company or a new one. More and more, people are working for themselves.

When your employees quit and  take that leap to self-employment, they are able to guarantee themselves the benefits they originally thought they were going to get from working at home and making their own schedule. Without a boss to answer to, they can ACTUALLY work or not work whenever they want, wherever they want. They don’t have to worry about being always available and at their employer’s beck and call. There is no one looking over their shoulder, there is no micromanagement.

Everyone is Different and so Are Their Work Styles

Everyone person is different and thus different work styles may work better for one person more than another. Different environmental factors enable different people to achieve their highest productivity levels. For that reason, it is often counterproductive to hold every employee to the exact same standards and when it comes to monitoring activity, it important to be well aware of these differences.

Some people work best in short spurts with intermittent breaks while others may plug away for what seems to be days only to follow it up with extensive time away. Creativity and productivity are often unable to ever be truly confined to a set schedule. In attempting to do so, they are often stunted or stifled all together. When you seek to have a better understanding of your employees work styles and empower them to do their work, unconfined and loosely monitored, you will find that in most cases they will be happier, more productive and more likely to stick around.


It is important to let your employees have a life. If you want to keep them happy and keep them around, it is important to let them feel like you trust them. Whether they work at home or in the office, don’t micromanage, don’t always be looking over their shoulder. Let them show you what they are capable of when you empower them with your trust.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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