U.S. companies deploy employee monitoring tools on a massive scale

From keystrokes and screenshots to audio recordings and GPS location tracking, it is estimated that by 2025, at least seven out of every 10 U.S. companies will be monitoring employees digitally to watch measure employee productivity.

The study was created by StandoutCV, a UK-based online resume builder, who compared post-pandemic monitoring trends in 2023 with the same statistics the company collected in 2021. According to the data: one in three employers will use a tool that tracks the exact location of their employees, a percentage that has increased by 44.85% over the past two years.

By examining nearly 50 of the most popular monitoring tools over these two years, they found that nearly 25% of boss software today already has more invasive features compared to 2021.

Remote work was in its infancy when the Covid-19 pandemic began, Fennell said, but today's tools of all kinds have become more sophisticated. For example, screenshots can be set up to capture randomly, at fixed times of the day, or based on trigger actions, such as visiting entertainment sites.

And among these major monitoring programs, the most popular monitoring features among employers include:

· time tracking (96%)

· taking screenshots of an employee's computer screen (78%)

· video monitoring (42%)

· keylogging (40%)

· tracking by GPS location (34%)

· recording an employee's audio through their devices internal microphone (8%)

What's scary is that 38% of these tools are actually running in secret without the employee's awareness or explicit permission. And, more than 80% of employees are monitored in real time.

Employees' most private conversations may be recorded at home without their prior consent or knowledge, Fennell said.

While the study does show a slight decrease in the use of stealth mode since 2023, 78 percent of these "productivity" tools are based on conditions set by employers.

This means there are no standards; monitoring tools can be set differently for each employee, each department, or changed without reason or warning, which can lead to workplace discrimination, retaliation, and suppression of union activity.