Employee monitoring trends from 2021 to watch in 2022

by Time Doctor
Employee Monitoring Trends 2021

The COVID pandemic was the main reason behind several new workplace trends in 2021, including the increasing popularity of remote work. 

As a result, implementing modern employee monitoring solutions seemed the best way for companies to monitor remote employees and manage a hybrid workforce. 

But will the same employee monitoring trends continue in 2022 as well?
Or will we see a paradigm shift in how organizations map employee productivity?  

In this article, we’ll look at the top employee monitoring trends 2021 that employers need to focus on as they transition into 2022. 

This article contains: 

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Let’s get started with these workplace trends. 

We know that how your employees spend their work hours impacts your team’s work efficiency and the company’s profits. That’s why every employer must be aware of the latest employee monitoring trends affecting the global workforce. 

Here are the top nine employee monitoring trends 2021 that will impact 2022: 

1. Rise in remote and hybrid working

Even though we have had remote work pre-pandemic, the demand for remote work has risen tremendously during COVID. It has compelled more companies to offer hybrid work options, and the same trend is expected to continue in 2022. 

And if we go by the numbers, 51% of the global workforce will be working remotely by the end of 2021(Gartner). 

There’s also a positive shift towards the hybrid workplace model, and 30% of American workers already consider themselves hybrid employees (Quantum Workplace Survey, 2021).

But how does employee monitoring fit into all of this? 

As the number of hybrid and remote workers skyrockets, the need for tracking employee productivity will increase as well.

According to Gartner, there was a massive surge in searches for “employee monitoring” just two months after the pandemic hit, and the searches for “productivity” almost tripled.  

It’s also worth noting that one in five businesses are deploying employee surveillance technology, and 62% of them are doing so to collect employee productivity data (Surfshark 2021). 

But why? 

It’s because remote work monitoring tools can help employers track :

  • Work hours of remote employees
  • App activity
  • GPS locations
  • Social media usage
  • Idle time
  • Attendance and create automatic payrolls.

While working remotely, such monitoring solutions may help improve workplace collaboration and communication.

2. Employee monitoring automation

New technologies and the rise of automation in the employee monitoring solutions market will help employers identify employee pain points to improve workflow efficiency. 

Here’s how: 

A. Using cloud-based automated employee monitoring software 

Today, around 50% of all corporate data is stored in the cloud (Statista 2021), and these figures also resonate with employee surveillance data. 

With the cloud, employers can monitor their employees in real-time, for example, by using automatic time-tracking.

As manual time entry and data adjustments are the most time-consuming processes (Deloitte study), automated time tracking can eliminate the hassle and lost productivity. Moreover, companies can adopt the SaaS (Software as a Service) model not to have to manage their monitoring data and focus on core business areas. 

B. Monitoring with artificial intelligence

We’ll also see more companies shifting towards intelligent monitoring software that uses Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to report: 

  • Behavioral workforce analytics: Employee monitoring solutions can track changes in employee behavior and assess behavioral anomalies in real-time. 
  • Health-risk detection: A monitoring tool can detect employee activity that can pose potential health risks. For example, it can alert employees about spending too much time on their computers, telling them to take a break.
  • Employee identification: Employee monitoring software can also help with facial recognition or fingerprint authentication. 

Considering these features, more companies are likely to invest in the employee monitoring solutions industry going forward. 

3. New regulations for employee privacy

During the COVID pandemic, more than 50% of large corporations used nontraditional monitoring techniques like email monitoring or location analysis. 

However, many companies haven’t yet determined how to balance this new wave of technology with employee privacy. In fact, only 30% of the C-suite business leaders who participated in a 2019 Accenture survey were confident that companies would use the employee data responsibly.

Consequently, many companies saw office workers losing trust in their employers. The same study also states that 52% of employees believed that mishandling of data damaged trust and reduced employee morale. 

As a result, in 2022, we could see the introduction of new state and local regulations to limit the monitoring of office workers to ensure employee privacy. This’ll also ensure that companies adopt more restrictive standards while using an employee monitoring tool for their workforce.

4. Focus on employee wellbeing

The pandemic has given way to the “always-on” company culture and negatively impacted employees’ mental health. 

To change this norm and avoid an impending mental health epidemic, HR leaders (Human Resource) will increasingly focus on employee experience and wellbeing in the coming years.

HR professionals globally will be seen using employee monitoring to address broader issues like job satisfaction and employee wellness in a remote or hybrid workplace setup. 

How will employee monitoring help?
By using employee monitoring technology, employers can track employees’ productivity, behavioral patterns, etc., to mitigate stress, anxiety, or employee burnout and enhance employee experience. 

For example, automatic time tracking can help the HR department know which employees are working overtime or are slacking.  

Moreover, as more Gen Zs and millennials join the workforce, they’re strongly advocating prioritizing mental health and having a wellness program in their organization. 

In fact, according to a Gartner survey, by March 2020, 68% of participating organizations had already introduced at least one new wellness benefit to improve employee experience during the pandemic.

In 2022, employers and their HR team can be seen taking healthcare initiatives to destigmatize mental health issues by expanding their wellness programs. We can also expect companies to incorporate apps, wearables, and gamification elements to ensure employees care for their physical health too. 

5. More diverse workforce

With jobs turning hybrid and remote, employee monitoring will give HR leaders greater flexibility to hire talent from any region with stable internet connectivity. 

As a result, going forward, talented employees from all walks of life can expect a more level playing field. 

Moreover, diversity is a buzzword amongst millennials who will dominate almost 75% of the workforce by 2025 (Deloitte). This generation not only looks forward to a diverse work environment but is also more likely to hire remote workers to ensure workplace diversity. 

What does this mean for you? 

If you’re an employer, having workplace diversity will surely help retain your top talent. A key factor in ensuring this is an employee-friendly monitoring software solution for your organization.  

6. Shift from work hours to work output 

Sure, employee monitoring allows for a bigger hybrid workforce. 

But the next wave of flexibility would be around companies gauging employees by their overall productivity rather than work hours.

A 2020 Gartner survey states that companies found 55% of their workforce to be more productive when they could choose when and how long they worked.  

So, instead of simply monitoring working hours, employers will need to change their outlook and focus more on how much a worker can contribute to the organization. 

For employees, flexible working and improved productivity will be the most lucrative perks of remote working (Upwork 2020).

7. Efforts for employee recruitment, retention, and engagement

Allowing teams to work remotely was not only one of the most highlighted HR trends in 2021, but it’ll also serve as an exciting recruitment perk in the coming years.

That said, with more of the workforce going remote, employee engagement will continue to be a pressing concern for HR professionals. 

A study shows that almost half of all the U.S. managers overseeing remote workers are concerned about employee engagement (Owl Lab’s Survey 2021). Moreover, a lack of it can easily increase employee turnover. 

To prevent this, more HR leaders will be seen going creative with their HR technology to retain and engage employees. Some of these efforts could include: 

  • Performance assessments to incentivize productivity.
  • Allowing a flexible schedule.
  • Offering mental health support.
  • Introducing a wellness program.
  • Most importantly, using an employee monitoring solution.

In particular, monitoring tools will help employers determine which employees deliver results and reach their productivity goals. Accordingly, they can reward top performers as an incentive and ensure better employee engagement. 

On the other hand, they can identify employees struggling with work and help them overcome personal roadblocks to ensure more job satisfaction. 

Moreover, the employee monitoring software will help with the turnover predictions by using AI and ML to evaluate historical pay, performance reviews, number of leaves, promotions, etc. Such factors can help identify which employees are unhappy and most likely to resign. 

8. Individual talent over companies 

The Chief of Research for Gartner predicts that in 2021 and beyond, US states and cities will try to attract individual talent rather than persuade companies to relocate to their jurisdictions. 

Wonder why?
Remote employee monitoring will allow employees working from home to no longer be tied to their locations. 

As a result, states and cities will be seen offering relaxed tax policies to incentivize individuals to relocate instead of giving tax benefits to large companies. 

Cities like Topeka, Kansas, and Tulsa are already offering remote employees up to $15,000 to move to their jurisdictions, and more states are expected to hop on the bandwagon. 

Not only will this allow remote workers to shift from expensive cities, but it will also help smaller cities inject new money into their communities through home purchases, local business support, and more. 

9. Greater acceptance for employee monitoring

In 2020, Clutch reported that merely 10% of employees would trust their employer more if their work was tracked by employee monitoring software.

But, if we look at the historical data reported by Gartner, 30% of employees got more comfortable with monitoring (compared to just 10% in 2015) when employers started explaining the reasons for monitoring. The reasons could be billing clients by the hours or tracking attendance

However, the Clutch study also stated that 72% of employees felt that monitoring software would not affect productivity. On the contrary, it will provide them the opportunity to showcase their ability to function independently.

So, it’s safe to say that if employers continue implementing new employee monitoring solutions with greater transparency, employees will get more comfortable being monitored.

Indeed, these employee monitoring trends are noteworthy and can give you some strong HR insights to gear up for 2022.

But to put these insights into practice, you first need to figure out how to monitor your workforce. 

The best way to implement employee monitoring 

Using an employee monitoring solution is a surefire way to amp up employee productivity. 

And for that, you need an employee-friendly tool like Time Doctor

time doctor Time Tracking

Time Doctor is one of the most popular employee productivity and workforce management software solutions used by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, and SMBs, such as Thrive Market.

You can use it to evaluate employee performance by tracking the work hours in a remote or hybrid workplace. It can also help employees take control of their own performance management by giving insights into their work habits and productivity

Here’re some of Time Doctor’s fantastic features: 

  • The time tracking feature tracks time spent by a worker on individual tasks and projects. 
  • Idle time tracking sends automatic alerts when the computer stays idle for too long. 
  • The scheduling feature allows managers to chalk out employee schedules and shifts for their remote team.
  • Comprehensive real-time productivity reports offer data on hours tracked, web and app usage, attendance, employee activity summary, and more.
  • Payroll management lets you manually or automatically approve timesheets and make direct payments by integrating with PayPal, Wise, Gusto, or ADP.
  • The screencasts (optional) feature takes screenshots of your employee’s work screens. You can also blur or delete screenshots with sensitive information to protect employee privacy.

Time Doctor also offers a powerful Chrome extension to integrate time tracking with project management apps like Asana, Slack, and Basecamp

Want to know what more this tool is capable of?

Explore all the fantastic features and benefits of Time Doctor. 

Wrapping up

It’s evident from these trends that employee monitoring will be pivotal in managing remote work and staying competitive in 2021 and beyond.

Needless to say, employers have a fine line to tread here. An employee monitoring solution can easily be overbearing or intrusive if employees are not informed well enough. 

Moreover, employers should be using employee monitoring solutions to ensure employee wellbeing, reduce churn rates, and have a global workforce.

Undoubtedly, 2022 will demand a change in the mindsets of both employers and employees. But one thing is certain for sure – remote working is here to stay!

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