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People Management quotes Anne-Marie Balfour on employee monitoring

New research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and HR tech specialist HiBob shows that more than half of bosses (55%) agree with collecting information on regular home workers, including the amount of time spent on laptops each day and email sending behaviours to identify risk of burnout.

However, only three in 10 (28%) leaders reported that their organisations were using software to monitor the productivity of home workers.
Anne-Marie Balfour, Legal Director, provides comment for People Management on employee monitoring. She says:
"Monitoring is, by its very nature, intrusive. From an employee relations perspective, monitoring is not generally popular, with employees suspicious of being checked up on or spied upon. However, the bosses in this study seem to have well-intentioned reasons for collecting information on home workers. Taking steps to avoid the risk of burnout is one way to look out for the health and safety of employees, and that aim is consistent with legal obligations on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of employees."

"However, employers need to balance the level of intrusion with the needs of the employer, which is a delicate balancing act. Whilst monitoring of employees is not necessarily unlawful, it is a legal minefield. Human rights, data protection, health and safety and unfair dismissal laws all intersect when considering how monitoring can be conducted lawfully. If the employee is working in another jurisdiction, that jurisdiction’s set of relevant laws will apply too!"

"Employers would therefore need to consider and plan carefully before implementing any monitoring arrangements. The ICO recently published draft guidance for employers on monitoring, and is consulting on this at present. This may give employers a welcome steer in this difficult area."

Read the full article in People Management here.

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