Taking logs of computer activity, or even screenshots, and running them through big data analytics programs allows these firms to create detailed reports for executives about productivity, they claim. How employers use the data, they add, is up to them.
According to Gartner, more than half of companies with over $750m in annual sales used “non-traditional” monitoring techniques on staff in 2018, while the workforce analytics industry will be worth nearly $2bn by 2025, according to San Francisco’s Grand Review Research.
Products developed by companies such as Activtrak, which raised $20m in a series A funding round in March 2019, allow employers to track which websites staff visit, how long they spend on sites deemed “unproductive” and set alarms triggered by content considered dangerous.
If combined with personal details, such as someone’s age and sex, the data could allow employers to develop a nuanced picture of ideal employees, choose whom they considered most useful and help with promotion and firing decisions.
Here is more from Camilla Hodgson at the FT.