Advantages of software for employee monitoring systems

Career & Salary

Industry 4.0 is changing the world of work. Smartphones, tablets and wearables such as smart wristbands or data glasses are increasingly enabling mobile working. Digitally networked, production processes can be controlled in real time from any location, employees no longer have to be present in the company. In addition, more and more employees combine demanding employment with private freedom and want to decide autonomously when and from where to work. This presents employers and managers in the IT sector with new challenges in terms of personnel policy and labor law.

Leadership through target agreements

For example, if employees do not work together in the same building, more effort is required for team building. Managers cannot guide their teams in personal discussions and, due to a lack of personal presence, they cannot directly control the individual. Target agreements are gaining in importance as an instrument for managing employees at a distance. If the typical performance and assessment period has so far been regularly based on the calendar or fiscal year, more and more companies are starting to formulate shorter periods of time for individual goals.

One possibility, for example, is to set goals every quarter combined with regular feedback and incentives. It is important to formulate the goals so clearly that there is no dispute about the achievement of the goal. The general framework for the target agreements should also be clearly regulated between the employer and the employee. Because clear agreements on the procedure also help to avoid unnecessary disputes.

In the case of mobile work, electronic time recording and access control are no longer necessary. Employees receive a leap of faith when they are allowed to work from home or on the go. According to the motto "Trust is good - control is better", it may be tempting from a company point of view to also use the growing technical possibilities to monitor employees. In terms of data protection law, however, this is not without its problems.

The company's interests must always be weighed against the interests of the employee that are worthy of protection. Only if the employer has a legitimate interest in the employee-related data, which does not have to subordinate to predominantly legitimate employee interests, he may collect and use the personal employee data.

An example: Continuous tracking via smartphones, laptops or GPS transmitters installed in company vehicles can be used to create movement profiles of employees. If it does not matter where the employee works, the employer has no interest in technically monitoring the employee's whereabouts. Monitoring via GPS location can, however, be justified in order to ensure the personal safety of the employee.

If he is in a dangerous work environment or is on a risky job, it is usually in his interest that the employer can understand his location and his movements. The use of GPS technology can also be permitted for fleet management in the field for effective route planning. Such a location must, however, be open, i.e. the employee must know that the employer is recording the whereabouts. Covert GPS tracking is only permitted if there is a specific suspicion that the employee has committed a criminal offense or other significant breach of contract.

Monitoring of the PC in the home office

The use of wearables to monitor the work behavior of employees is also not simply permitted. If a finger sensor records keystrokes and mouse movements on the home office computer and the employer automatically receives screenshots of the computer screen on a regular basis, this is such a continuous and intensive monitoring that it is generally not permitted.

In production facilities, production processes can be monitored and controlled remotely with the aid of data glasses into which camera recordings from a system and additional information are transmitted ("augmented reality"). As a rule, personal data is collected, such as movement patterns, operating times and possibly employee communication data. In this case too, the monitoring is intensive. However, it can be justified to improve operational processes. In this example, the data glasses enable production errors to be identified and remedied quickly.

The employer must agree with the works council (if available) whether the data collected can also be used to monitor the employee's performance and behavior. In principle, the works council also remains responsible for employees who work in the home office or on the move.

Risk of losing sensitive data

Mobile working increases the risk for companies that careless use of smartphones or tablets will cause sensitive data to be lost or business secrets to become known. Regardless of whether mobile devices are stolen and fall into the wrong hands or whether the employee uses the laptop openly while working in his favorite café ("latte macchiato workplace"), the damage to the company can be immense. In addition to a loss of reputation and claims for damages from clients, there is also a risk of fines for data protection violations. The employee is obliged to prevent damage from the employer and to maintain confidentiality. If he violates this, he can also make himself liable for damages.

  1. Formulate company-wide security guidelines
    These must also take into account the handling of data and information outside the protected company network. The guidelines must provide a reasonable and comprehensible framework. They must not be unrealistic.
  2. Security awareness measures
    Offer suitable training not only for new employees, but also for "old hands". Regularly sensitize employees to the topics of security and mobile working.
  3. Check and ensure enforcement of security guidelines
    On the one hand, this can be implemented technologically (for example, by enforcing blocking guidelines on mobile devices), and on the other hand, through awareness measures and training that are regularly checked - for example through internal audits. If necessary: ​​intensify measures.
  4. Decision for the right mobile office variant
    Which type of mobile office is the right one for the company and its employees? Of course, a mix is ​​also possible. The employees must be clearly communicated which variants are possible for them. At the same time, explain why these variants were chosen and what employees have to pay particular attention to.
  5. Think a little further when planning mobile offices
    Use OTP solutions, for example. It doesn't have to be an expensive token access firewall; there are often simple, but no less secure, open source solutions. Invite experienced employees to think along and help plan. Maybe try a new way with selected employees.
  6. Provide resources
    The aim is that the desired mobile office variants can be used quickly and without problems. If the setup takes too long, access is too slow or technically not stable, then mobile working will not work in the best of cases. In the worst case, the employees look for other, often clearly unsafe paths.
  7. To be flexible
    A one-off show of strength to enable mobile working is not enough. Mobile offices need constant support. New business requirements, new technologies and changed framework conditions make it necessary to adapt and fine-tune measures, decisions and guidelines again and again.

Forward-looking risk management is therefore in the interests of everyone involved. Employees can be made aware of the dangers and risks through training. An IT usage guideline can set out clear and binding guidelines for the use of mobile devices. If a further warning - depending on the industry and the need for confidentiality - is appropriate, the employer should consider including a contractual penalty in the employment contract.

If everyone involved is clear about the challenges and risks of mobile work and if they have made adequate arrangements in advance, for example on confidentiality or the use of data for performance monitoring, employees and management can fully exploit the freedom and opportunities of a location-independent activity - to the benefit of both sides .