Remote work
fact checking report


Monitoring remote workers increases their productivity


Empirical and professional evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact that monitoring is counter-productive and may result in a company losing talent.

Evidence for:

A recent study conducted in China at the beginning of the pandemic discovered in interviews with newly remote workers that some employees found monitoring helpful to stay on track in their work1.

Evidence against:

The same authors then conducted another study in which they surveyed newly remote workers, and this relationship between monitoring and productivity was not confirmed. They also found that employees who were monitored felt that they had to constantly be online1. Other studies also found that employee monitoring is counterproductive for several reasons:

  1. Employees could find ways around being monitored by purposefully leaving digital footprints that make it look like they are working19.
  2. Monitoring may be perceived as micromanagement, leading to lower trust in management and feelings that employees are not being supported by their workplace, which could in turn lead to poor work quality and lower company loyalty8.
  3. It could lead to overworking, with employees suffering from poor mental and physical health11.

In fact, a professional study conducted on 2,000 Americans by OWL Labs in collaboration with Global Workplace Analytics in 2020 found that 32% of employees would be unhappy if their organisation started monitoring their activity, and 11% even said that they would quit their job because of it3.