LOS ANGELES — More employers across the country are using what’s referred to as Bossware to monitor their employees’ work habits and determine whether their workers are productive. 

What You Need To Know

  • Bossware is software employees can use to track their employees' online habits

  • A Digital.com survey found that 60% of employers with remote workers use the software

  • 88% of companies who used the software fired employees because of it, according to the survey

A survey by Digital.com found 60% of the companies they talked to with remote employees are using this software. 

Tanya McRae, filling in for “Inside the Issues” host Alex Cohen, spoke with Dennis Consorte, a small business and startup consultant at Digital.com.

He said in California, that number is much higher at 78%. 

“Bossware tracks keystrokes, it can track facial movements, it can track when you leave your workstation for a period of time,” Consorte said.

Most of the companies who use this software saw an increase in productivity, according to the survey. Nearly 90% of them fired workers who were found to have what the employers considered to be poor work habits. 

Consorte agrees there are benefits to the software, but cautions that there is also a downside to keeping such a close eye on employees.

“It creates a work environment where people feel like they’re not trusted, where they feel like their boss is looking over their shoulder with every move that they make,” he said.

The survey also found that most employees are spending between one and five hours of the workday on non-work activities. This includes being away from the computer, browsing social media and visiting other websites.

It seems damaging, but Consorte said there might be another way for employees to look at the data.

“We need to get away from this whole concept of paying people by the hour. It doesn’t make sense in today’s world,” he said. “Sometimes things aren’t tracked. If you have software on the computer, it may not track if they’re making calls to vendors, or some other work-related activities, or if they’re taking a walk and thinking about ideas that they then come back to their computers and perform work.”

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