Employees accept digital monitoring

May 17, 2023

Gartner surveyed around 5,000 employees – Not every form of monitoring is desired

“Digital workers” in the UK, India, China and the US find digital monitoring OK under certain conditions. This means electronic monitoring systems that continuously check whether company goals are being achieved or whether there are friction losses. This is shown in a survey by the researcher Gartner (https://www.gartner.com), for which 4,861 full-time employees in companies with 100 or more employees were questioned.

Career versus surveillance

Digital workers, according to Gartner, are employees who use digital technologies, including any combination of devices (laptops, smartphones and tablets), applications and web services for communication, information or productivity. However, the term is generally used to describe AI-driven chatbots that take over mundane, repetitive tasks once performed by human workers.

34 percent of human digital workers say yes to monitoring if they get training opportunities or can advance their career faster in return. 33 per cent agree if it helps them learn more about their work, and 30 per cent if monitoring is accompanied by proactive help from their employer’s IT department.

Feedback welcome

According to the study, an important reason why employees accept the use of monitoring software is the fact that they are at least temporarily overwhelmed by the “dizzying” amount of info and applications flooding their digital workplaces. Feedback is then welcome. Knowledge workers use an average of 11 apps today, compared to just six in 2019, with 40 per cent of digital workers using more than the average number of apps and five per cent using as many as 26 or more apps at work, according to Gartner.

However, not all monitoring types and tools are welcome. Checking who is working and who is not is not valued, according to Tori Paulman, senior director analyst at Gartner. Conversely, monitoring technology that informs employees whether expected results and goals are being met is strongly accepted, she said. According to Lane Severson, senior director analyst at Gartner who studies digital employee experiences, digital monitoring can help IT leaders identify where “digital friction” is hindering productivity.

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