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Title: Power, Stress, and Uncertainty: Experiences with and Attitudes toward Workplace Surveillance During a Pandemic
There is a rich literature on technology’s role in facilitating employee monitoring in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges for employers, and many companies turned to new forms of monitoring to ensure remote workers remained productive; however, these technologies raise important privacy concerns as the boundaries between work and home are further blurred. In this paper, we present findings from a study of 645 US workers who spent at least part of 2020 working remotely due to the pandemic. We explore how their work experiences (job satisfaction, stress, and security) changed between January and November 2020, as well as their attitudes toward and concerns about being monitored. Findings support anecdotal evidence that the pandemic has had an uneven effect on workers, with women reporting more negative effects on their work experiences. In addition, while nearly 40% of workers reported their employer began using new surveillance tools during the pandemic, a significant percentage were unsure, suggesting there is confusion or a lack of transparency regarding how new policies are communicated to staff. We consider these findings in light of prior research and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various approaches to minimize surveillance-related worker harms.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Surveillance & Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
29 to 44
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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