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The correlation between mental health and employee tracking


The inclusion of employee tracking in any company often comes from the desire to ensure that companies are getting the most bang out of every buck that they spend on their employees. However, research has shown that close monitoring may backfire instead due to the amount of stress, distrust, and insecurity that it places on employees. 

The motive behind employee monitoring

While companies adopt employee monitoring to maximize productivity and investment, studies indicate it may be counterproductive. Intense oversight can breed anxiety, diminish trust, and erode employee morale, potentially hindering overall performance. A balance between trust and monitoring is essential, as creating a supportive work environment can lead to sustainable productivity and greater job satisfaction.

“When I discovered the extent to which I was being monitored, it frankly surprised me and made me feel as though my work was not speaking for itself. This made me feel stressed about the quality of my work, the hours I was putting in, and it did not create an overall conducive environment for long-term working relationships,” shared one individual who worked with a company that used highly invasive employee monitoring software for businesses

The intention behind monitoring matters

However, not all employees view it the same way. Another employee shared that they liked being monitored as they feel that it validates their work and employers would be able to very clearly see how much effort they are putting into their job. Some employees appreciate monitoring, feeling it showcases their dedication and effort, thereby validating their hard work in the eyes of their employers.

With these two contrasting views, perhaps the true problem isn’t employee tracking at all but the intentions behind employee monitoring. Employers who use these tracking systems and constantly monitor their employees to the point of micromanaging them might find that their employees are less enthusiastic about these practices. For companies that include their employees in the process and discuss with them about how they best perform their duties or how best to measure their performance, employees are much more positive about the implementation of employee tracking. 

Benefits of proper implementation

When done well, remote monitoring may be able to provide invaluable insights to the company and they would be able to enhance their processes through the application of data analysis. When executed effectively, remote surveillance can offer critical data to businesses, enabling them to refine operations through detailed data analytics.

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“Back in the day, before these tracking services even existed, I worried that I’m not getting recognised in the workplace because I wasn’t very sociable and people who mingle would naturally stand out to their peers. I disappeared into the background and watched as others took promotions that I coveted. Now, with monitoring, my employers are better able to see my contributions and I’ve been offered promotions and more responsibilities,” shares another employee. 

In earlier times, without employee tracking tools, my introverted nature made me fade into the background at work. Sociable colleagues often overshadowed my efforts, advancing while I remained stagnant. However, with the advent of monitoring, my hard work became more visible. Subsequently, I’ve been entrusted with greater responsibilities and received well-deserved promotions.

Employee monitoring software is just another tool that can be wielded in many ways. In China, workplace surveillance has been the norm for many years and it can ensure safety alongside accountability. In the West, people are having a hard time accepting it because they feel that their employers are taking a peek into their personal lives, but that should be a small price to pay for bringing home work, should it? 

Cultural perspectives on monitoring

Employee tracking tools are versatile in their application. In places like China, workplace surveillance, ensuring both safety and accountability, is customary. However, in Western cultures, there’s resistance, as many feel it intrudes into personal boundaries. But, as work enters our homes, perhaps some concessions on privacy are inevitable, aren’t they? The debate intensifies as the lines between professional and personal spaces blur, demanding a reevaluation of traditional notions of workplace privacy.

“Honestly,” an employer shares in regards to using employee tracking systems, “it really depends on the individual… If you are just working to put food on the table, many employees don’t care about being monitored, in fact, they might prefer it if it means that their clockable hours are paid for. Today, you get employees who want to work for companies with values that align with their own. Being monitored by those companies makes them feel uncomfortable because they might feel that the companies they believe in do not believe in them.”

The perspective varies from person to person. For those primarily concerned with earning their livelihood, surveillance might be inconsequential, or even welcomed, to ensure they’re compensated fairly. Yet, in an era where many seek employment with organizations whose values resonate with their own, surveillance can be disconcerting. They might perceive it as a sign that the firms they trust don’t reciprocate that trust towards their employees.

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