During the corona crisis, the Netherlands started working from home a lot more and that seems to remain at least partly that way after the pandemic. In the ‘new normal’ two to three days a week in the office seems to be enough for the highly educated in particular. On the other hand, employers seem to have trouble letting go of those office days. In doing so, they give up a degree of control that they would rather not lose. In some cases, employers turn to spy software to keep an eye on their home workers. A survey by trade union CNV showed that about 13 percent of companies keep an eye on employees. This seems to be happening especially in the call center industry. The actual number of “spying” employers could be even higher, as CNV’s survey was limited to surveying homeworkers. Some of this group may not be familiar enough with the business software to know about any form of auditing. Afraid of spying employer
More than 15 percent of employees are afraid that the employer is monitoring them with spy software. This is apparent from a poll published on Tuesday among 1,106 home workers by VPNdiensten.nl. If the employer has a good reason for monitoring the work, an average of 41 percent is fine with the boss watching. What is striking about the study is that homeworkers adjust their behavior in response to possible control practices. Employees under the age of thirty in particular often do this above average. Employees are afraid that the employer is watching them unsolicited. Image: VPNdiensten.nl
For example, it appears that more than 14 percent of the respondents shorten their lunch break and after a quick bite they dive behind the laptop earlier than when they have lunch in the office. 17 percent try to cheat by leaving the computer online after regular working hours, making it look like they are still working. On the other hand, an average of 32 percent feel hesitant to close the laptop earlier when the work is done for the day. Women, in particular, seem to have more trouble finishing the working day earlier and are also more likely to shorten their lunch break. Men are a bit easier on those two points and also have less trouble making the employer think they are still at work.
People leave their computers on after a working day to appear active. Image: VPNdiensten.nl
Monitoring is not prohibited
Keeping an eye on employees remotely is not prohibited in the Netherlands, but it is not allowed just like that. The employer must have a legitimate reason for doing so and must be mindful of employee privacy and rights at all times.An employer may only monitor an employee without notice if it is suspected of fraud or other serious crime.
More about working from home? Also check out these pieces:
- That’s how big the regional differences in internet speeds are: Noord-Holland and Groningen are lagging behind with the rollout of 1 Gigabit
- How much extra asphalt is needed? – Working from home ensures less heavy rush hour
- Japanese investment bank Nomura bans employees from smoking while working from home
- The employee compensation scheme is hopelessly complicated – beer and bitterballen at work is tax-free, a home drink package is not
- Google may pay home workers less – wages dependent on location.