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Companies Are Starting To Monitor Remote Workers With Cameras And Employees Are Disturbed

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disturbed remote worker

Since the pandemic, remote work has become increasingly popular. Allowing employees to work from the comfort of their own homes both increases their productivity at work and gives them more flexibility in their personal lives.

This kind of flexibility and adaptability in the workday is what cultivates such a healthy atmosphere — one where employees are increasingly happier than their in-person counterparts.

However, some remote employees are having that flexibility and freedom taken away, despite still working from home. One Reddit user posted on the “WFH” forum, sharing that their boss was going to be implementing a “monitoring” process — shipping out cameras to be set up in their home offices. 

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Remote workers are reportedly uncomfortable with new changes allowing companies to ‘monitor’ them with cameras. 

“I work for a small company,” the Reddit poster wrote. “They got bought out and now we’re all gonna have cameras in our home offices. I’m kinda creeped out and feel that’s kinda far. Is this normal?” 

More than a third of companies keep “camera feeds” on their remote employees, monitoring their work schedule and the time spent at their computers. However, this often gives a misguided picture of employees' real work, especially if cameras are being introduced despite already appropriate productivity and work completion. 

Companies Are Starting To Monitor Remote Workers With Cameras And The Employees Are DisturbedPhoto: Jelena Zelen / Shutterstock

Research also shows that the productivity of workers is far better when cameras aren’t present. Even when working in person, employees tend to be happier and more productive when they’re given flexibility, outside the lens of their boss’ watchful eye. 

Remote workers tend to have more flexibility with their work schedule, allowing them the freedom to step away for quick tasks. 

It’s the largest perk of remote work: flexibility. Employees not only get to work from the safety of their home and decrease their commute time to nothing, but it’s much easier to plan appointments, be there for family, and invest in personal time. 

   

   

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It’s an unspoken rule — remote employees have the freedom to go to more appointments or take a quick break to check on their kids, but their priority should be work for the majority of the day. With this new introduction of cameras, employees worry that this unspoken practice will quickly go away, putting their jobs at risk when they take a 15-minute break in the afternoon. 

Workers do have several privacy rights when it comes to their employer, whether they’re working from home or in the office, however, it gets tricky to enforce. Especially, if you’re using company-provided technology or dealing with company information, the line between legal and illegal is vague. 

With this new trend of ‘camera monitoring,’ remote workers could be looking at disciplinary action for utilizing the flexibility of the job. 

While it might be legal to enforce “camera monitoring” on these remote employees, many still have concerns about their job stability

   

   

In shocking statistics from 2023, the stability of remote workers is far from secure, with companies being 35% more likely to fire their remote employees than in-person ones. Regardless of the reason, the introduction of cameras makes justifying these employee terminations that much easier. 

So while “camera monitoring” might be technically legal, it feels unethical in a number of realms. And according to many employees, it appears to be a means for their employers to get rid of remote work for good. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture and human interest stories.