Over a half million remote workers “spied on” by employers


An estimated 13% of remote workers are experiencing their employer using software to monitor their behavior during working hours, labor union CNV said. The union based its estimate on research involving more than 1,200 people currently working from home.

”This means that more than half a million workers are being spied on by their employer. In reality, the number is probably even higher because not everyone is aware of software being used”, CNV chair Piet Fortuin said.

Simultaneously, there has been a large increasing in interest among Dutch companies for monitoring software to keep tabs on their employees, software website Capterra reported. Demand for this kind of tool jumped by 58 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

Spying software allows employers to keep track of what their employees are doing during working hours. This can be achieved by looking into the mouse movements or keyboard actions made, for instance.

”From a legal point of view, this should only be allowed in exceptional cases, when workers are evidently taking advantage of remote work. Moreover, monitoring is unnecessary and ineffective since it has already been proven many people are more efficient and productive working from home than at the office”, Fourtain said.

According to Fourtain, instead of investing in surveillance software, employers should try to address other issues their workers have been experiencing more frequently since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The CNV said some top issues include burnout, feelings of loneliness, and vision problems due to increased screen hours.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority has also called upon organizations to stop the use of this type of software, stating that one’s productivity or quality of work can hardly be measured by it.