DEV Community


Discussion on: How do you feel about activity monitoring tools and other workplace surveillance practices? 🔒

janegareth profile image
Jane • Edited

I remember getting a job at one of the largest IT companies in town. I remember CEO telling me that their work environment is positive, friendly and trust-based because they only hire professionals who don't slack off, so I accepted their job offer.

When they were showing me around, they mentioned that they have an activity tracking system running on every PC in the company just in case. At the time, I felt okay about that because I'm a hardworking person and I never intended to abuse the working time.

I was doing fine at my new job until a couple of months later managers asked me to have a private talk. They told me that a day before I'd been away from my computer for 2,5 hours out of 8 hours and that they are disappointed with my performance. I explained that the day before I spent most of this time learning from my colleague behind their desk how to operate a complicated piece of software for my new responsibilities + I had lunch for about 45 mins. They went skeptical about it and told me that they'd ask my colleague if it was true.

The next day, they told me that my tasks take too much time, that I spend too much time away from my working place and that I needed to do something about it. I was shocked because I've never received feedback like this one before. More than that, I couldn't figure out why they'd been OK with my performance before but went crazy about it all of a sudden.

Finally, this activity monitoring thing and invalid accusations made me quit the job the next day. They were surprised to learn about my decision and tried to make me stay. After I quit, I spent about 2 years not looking for a job - this is how much unmotivated and discouraged I felt at the time.

Now I can tell that I made the right choice. I'm currently working at a company with a healthy workplace culture where we use a time tracking system. We use actiTIME and it supports no workplace surveillance, no activity tracking - only weekly timesheets and timers. Our managers trust our time entries because we estimate our tasks before the start of each Sprint and hold regular Standup meetings to share our progress. That's what I call healthy workplace monitoring.

coffeestasia profile image
Anastasia 🏄🏻‍♀️ Author

Thanks for sharing, Jane!

I'm sorry to hear about your experience with activity tracking tools. Unfortunately, these tools are gaining more and more popularity because, during the pandemic, many companies allowed their employees to work remotely. I suppose they couldn't think of a better productivity monitoring approach other than activity trackers that record every single mouse click.

Nice to know that your team enjoys actiTIME! Our team is strongly against any workplace surveillance practices and our time tracker doesn't support any of these spying and privacy-invading features. We highly recommend any teams not to implement this kind of activity monitoring software at the workplace because it will ruin the company culture and employee job satisfaction.