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Microsoft vice president speaks out against employee surveillance

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(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • As more employees work from home, employers have expressed concerns regarding productivity.
  • Some organizations use tools such as keystroke loggers and mouse trackers for employee surveillance.
  • Microsoft Vice President Jared Spataro made it clear that Microsoft views using those tools as "wrong."

As hybrid and remote work becomes the norm, employees and employers are often at odds, according to recent reporting from Bloomberg. The outlet highlighted that roughly 85% of managers are concerned about how much work their employees accomplish. In contrast, 87% of workers believe their output is acceptable.

Those figures come from a survey performed by Microsoft, which was discussed during a Bloomberg Television interview. Microsoft surveyed 20,000 people in 11 countries for its latest set of data.

“Leaders think their employees are not productive, whereas employees think they are being productive and in many cases even feel burnt out,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “One of the most important things for us in this new world of work and hybrid work is to bridge this paradox.”

With managers and higher-ups concerned about productivity, some organizations resort to tracking employees with tools such as keyloggers or mouse trackers. These are considered a violation of privacy by many and may not be as effective as they appear at first glance, according to Microsoft vice President Jared Spataro:

"There’s a growing debate about employee surveillance, and we have a really strong stance—we just think that’s wrong,” said Spataro. “We don’t think that employers should be surveilling and taking note of the activity of keystrokes and mouse clicks and those types of things because, in so many ways, we feel like that’s measuring heat rather than outcome."

The pandemic forced many organizations into hybrid or remote work. Employers have run into trouble trying to get employees to return to physical offices, especially in cases where productivity and profit were not adversely affected by remote work. This change, in conjunction with other factors, sparked a major shift in the workforce.

As highlighted by LinkedIn's Ryan Roslansky, 2% of jobs on LinkedIn were listed as remote before the pandemic. That figure reached as high as 20% in March 2022 and has since dropped down to 15%.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).