Is your employer watching you? Demand for employee surveillance software skyrockets

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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.

You log in to your work computer, coffee in hand, sweatpants on, ready to work. It’s just you, your tasks for the day and anyone else you might share a living space with – or is it?

According to a recent report from, an internet security firm that reviews VPN services, the demand for employee surveillance software is up 59 per cent since the pandemic started.

While this may seem sinister to some, and unsurprising to others, the uptick in interest isn’t completely unwarranted. One study reveals that eight in 10 remote workers in the U.S. admit to slacking off during work hours, and more than 43 per cent admitted to visiting pornographic websites on their laptops.

The problem with surveillance software

“The rapid rise of such invasive software risks setting new standards of workplace surveillance and dramatically undermining employees’ right to privacy,” the top10vpn report states.

While privacy is a concern, when you dig deeper, the more prominent issue for both employers and employees may be withdrawal.

Research from behavioural Scientist suggests that when people know they are being monitored, the breakdown in trust can lead to disengagement, which ultimately, and somewhat ironically, leads to even less productivity.

The report shows two of the most popular software for monitoring employees included Hubstaff and FlexiSPY. Here’s a quick look at some of the features of these software.

  • Screen monitoring
  • Keystroke logging (recording the keys struck on a keyboard)
  • Location tracking
  • Time tracking

Everything Hubstaff can do, plus:

  • Remote-control take over
  • Call tapping
  • Webcam surveillance
  • Instant messaging (IM) monitoring

How governments and people are taking action

In Canada, governments are starting to look at the issue. Recently, Ontario became the first province to require companies with more than 25 employees to disclose if and how they are being monitored electronically including through…