Work-at-Home Mandates Means it’s Time to Time Track Employees

Work-at-Home Mandates Means it’s Time to Time Track Employees

With so many employees still working at home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its persistent variants, the digital time tracking of employees and their work production has become of paramount importance to employers. Some of these employers and business owners are turning to paperless time tracking (, that is said to give an accurate time calculation of employee hours along with a good record of their off-site production. 

That said, some employers are using time tracking not only to gauge employee hours and the amount of work performed, but to actually manage increased production.

Enter Mattel

According to a recent report, the mega toy company Mattel created some controversy in November of 2021 when they listed a remote work-only position that called for periodic unplanned visits from a nearby supervisor.

The remote position was also said to require applicants to work in a “closed-off area” where there would be zero distractions including background noises like talking, music, kids, machinery, and more. Mattel stressed that the applicant should be prepared to focus solely on work and not the responsibility of taking care of children and/or family members.  

The job listing was said to have blown up almost instantly on social media sites like Twitter. People lambasted the company responsible for Hot Wheels, Barbie, and American Girl Doll, for creating a remote job that seemed so strict it could have come straight out of an FBI career opening. In other words, Mattel wasn’t about to mess around with a remote worker who planned on playing around and “slacking off.”   

With the job listing making negative headlines, Mattel quickly changed its approach and dropped the no slacking off clause stating that “seasonal customer service home agent positions process customer orders.”

They added that home agents should have access to a private workspace to maintain and protect the customer’s confidentiality. With security still playing a critical role in the job description, it no longer included language about surprise supervisory visits.  

That said, Mattel seems to be in the minority when it comes to telling at-home workers, how, when, and where they can work.  

Tracking Workers

But the Mattel case brings up a significant new development in the new work-at-home environment. That is, companies and organizations using monitoring software not only to track hours worked, but also worker production.

Experts say that a booming software industry has now sprung out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The software can show, in real-time, how often workers are typing, or if they are “physically” sitting before their computers/laptops, and if they’ve been cruising social media and or popular porn sites like Pornhub.

It can even gauge the tone of their company related emails.  

Personal Data Collection

Is it right or wrong to collect data on your employees during working hours? Says one former head of facility management at WeWork, it is entirely naïve for a remote employee to believe their data is not being collected and gathered.

She goes a step further in stating that employees have a direct responsibility to their employers that they be trustworthy. “It’s not just a one-way street,” the former facility manager emphasizes.   

Pandemic Initiated Tracking Software

According to The Washington Post, in March of 2020 when COVID-19 first hit U.S. shores, 30 percent of big employers began utilizing employee-tracking software for the first time ever. By the third quarter of 2021, that number expanded by 2X. As the traditional, if not legacy, full-scale office environment gets delayed due to variants like delta and omicron, more companies both large and small, will turn to employee tracking solutions.   

While some workers might interpret this digital intrusion as “surveillance state” tactics, employee tracking is said to be legal. That is, thus far. With working from your home base not going anywhere in the near future, the software that’s used to track your working hours and your production are also considered legal. Many companies feel compelled to use it as omicron continues to infect legions of people worldwide.  

But the work-at-home mandate, even when it comes with employee tracking, seems to remain a popular alternative for lots of workers who would be paying almost twice what it cost just a little over a year ago for a gallon of gasoline to fill their cars. A prominent management software company released a report in late 2021 that found up to 35 percent of 14,000 employees surveyed stated they would actively seek another job if their firm insisted they return to the workplace full-time.   

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.