Bossware: What is it, and Should Employees be Worried About it?

With the rise of a remote workforce, employers have several concerns but one of the biggest is that these employees will be hard to supervise and monitor.

As we all know, managing performance from afar can be challenging. When the team was at the office, it was much easier to see who was working hard, struggling, and taking long lunch breaks. With remote work the new norm, organizations are experiencing challenges in getting visibility into their employees’ activities and managing workloads. 

This can lead to underperforming periods or unhappy employees. The widespread adoption of remote work has resulted in a growing demand for software that automatically monitors employees – more popularly known as “tattleware” or “bossware.”

Bossware increased in use thanks to more remote and hybrid employees. So, how does bossware work, and how could it benefit your company? Below, we’ll discuss how it works and the potential problems of using bossware.

What is Bossware Software?  

Bossware describes several software tools used for the purposes of employee monitoring. Bossware makes it easier for organizations to understand employee behaviors, helping them find ways to boost productivity, security, and employee satisfaction.

With this software, you can track how much work your employees are doing and how efficient they are.

Bossware or electronic monitoring can be used to:

  • Monitor how much time their employees spend on the web or away from their computer
  • Monitor how their employees spend time on the web
  • Monitor what employees are doing on their computers, including viewing their work communication apps

Bossware provides employers with a visual interface where they can understand how their staff spends their working hours. It is an excellent way for managers and employers to track their employees remotely.

Some people disagree, however, claiming bossware is an invasion of privacy.

Commonly confused with spyware, employee surveillance software is not used for malicious purposes. The truth is, employees should not fear employee monitoring and instead look at it as one more piece of software that will improve their working life. 

Why Employers Use Bossware Software

Many employers are turning to bossware to keep connected to their employees, despite distance or workstation. 

One study found that employers increasingly want to monitor employees because they want to understand how employees spend their time. The second most common reason is to confirm that employees work full days instead of slacking off. Bossware helps boost employee productivity, security, and compliance. 

Here are the primary reasons employers use bossware software: 

Reduces Insider Threats

Bossware is designed to keep track of insider user activity, flag any suspicious behavior, and provide the necessary tools for investigators to respond in case of security incidents.

Employee monitoring software guards against all types of insider threats – including data theft leading to lost revenue.

Increases Productivity

Employee monitoring software can increase productivity for individual employees and teams as a whole. One great way of saving time and effort is to use smarter enterprise solutions that improve your workflow. With bossware systems, you can monitor/identify individuals, and resources are better managed and more efficiently deployed. This will, in turn, save time, money, and energy and allow you and your employees to work more efficiently.

Employees feel more engaged when they know their performance is being monitored. This is because there’s less chance for distractions when one knows they’re being watched.

When employees know they’re being monitored, they are more productive and less likely to veer from company guidelines. They focus on their work and are less likely to be distracted. Ongoing employee monitoring is one way to ensure your business stays on track.

Better Project Management 

While managers and employers are in charge of a company, sometimes things can fall through the cracks, especially in project management. Bossware helps employers understand how their employees spend their time so that they can better organize projects and possibly even better compensate employees.

Assists Payroll

With remote, hybrid, and office-based workers, you may find it challenging to keep tabs on billable hours. 

Employee monitoring software is making payroll more straightforward and more accurate. You can now use the software to track your employees’ time spent on various tasks, accurately assessing their hours. Bossware doesn’t just track time-it can also tell you when people have been inactive, called idle time tracking, and keep track of absences and attendance.

Why Employees Worry About Bossware Software

Some workers are wary of employee monitoring software. They cite privacy concerns and the legality of such software, as well as their doubts over whether it could lead to frustration among employees or intrusive surveillance. 

Employers must be upfront about the details of their monitoring. While you don’t necessarily need to get into the specifics of your tracking software and the data collected, it is helpful to let employees know they are being monitored. When using a work computer, some level of monitoring should be expected, but letting people know can be helpful. 

Some potential drawbacks of bossware include:

Data May Be Used Illegitimately

Employers may use monitoring software for malicious purposes, violating the right to privacy and committing possible harassment. To ensure the software isn’t used to overstep employee boundaries, it’s vital that employees are informed that any data collected will not be used against them or shared. This includes data concerning personal, financial, and health data. 

Ensure that your employee monitoring system complies with federal, state, and local regulations. The potential for digital technology being abused or misused in the workplace can infringe on employees’ right to privacy and should be considered when setting up the program.

Unnecessary Information May Be Collected

Employees may be concerned that employers are collecting unnecessary data, information that is not necessary to employment, security, or productivity. And the truth is, employees have privacy rights. 

Ensure that you are following all privacy laws and consider putting time limits on tracking, so employees know that you are not ‘spying’ on them or collecting data outside of work hours. 

Data May Not Be Stored Securely

Employees may have concerns that collected data is not secure and can be easily breached. If this happens, the privacy of all collected information will be at risk. Employee tracking software should minimize the data gathered to retain security and keep private communications, passwords, and other personal information confidential. 

Software May Be Installed on Personal Computers

Employees are often worried that bossware software installed on their personal devices accesses sensitive information. They must also be concerned that they might be monitored outside working hours. Employee monitoring should only occur when absolutely necessary and done in proportion to what is required for the workplace, regardless of who owns the devices. 

How to Calm Employee Concerns About Bossware Software

When using bossware, the key is being transparent and fair about it. You want to educate your employees about the tool and ensure you’re communicating with them openly, so there’s no resentment or misunderstanding.

Here are some ways to position bossware as a tool that will have a positive impact on your organization:

Be Transparent

As an organization, explaining to your employees how and when you’re collecting their personal information using software is essential and ensuring they’re on board with these terms. Employers should provide training on how the monitoring software functions and what employees can expect. This will help ensure the technology is used effectively and employees are on board with its use.

Remain Positive

It’s important to stress the benefits of bossware for employees when talking to them. If they feel like they’re being watched, it will make them more uncomfortable and less productive. If you emphasize that bossware is a tool that creates a positive standard in your company, then everyone will be more trusting and engaged in their work. Like tracking productivity and project management to ensure everyone’s working as they should and getting paid for their work.

Put Safety Measures in Place

Try to optimize the work schedule for your employees by configuring your software to track employee activity for specific hours of the day. Your solution should have reasonable restrictions so it doesn’t invade employees’ privacy outside of work hours and monitors their usage only while at work. Ensure that this data is backed up on an external device to be easily accessible by the appropriate administrators. The employees should also be aware of what their managers are gathering regarding their information and data.

Using Bossware Properly In Your Workplace

Remote and hybrid working is the new norm, but employers must consider many essential aspects before implementing a remote-working culture. Continual productivity is difficult to maintain. It’s not uncommon for employees to fail in their goal of being productive, and that’s why the use of employee monitoring software, or bossware, is on the rise.

Employee monitoring is a sensitive topic, but employee concerns are often eased as employers communicate its benefits and explain its advanced features.

More and more employers are taking their employees’ health and well-being seriously. Many of them are turning to monitoring software – like SoftActivity- to help them with that. 

The employee monitoring software will allow you to track the time your employees spend at work and what they do while at work. Not only does this give you a handle on workflow and productivity, but it also allows workers to be compensated correctly for their work.

See how you can make bossware work with SoftActivity’s Activity Monitor -and try our free seven-day trial. For more information on our products and services, feel free to contact us anytime!

By SoftActivity Team.

October 24th, 2022