Covid-19 and Employee Surveillance

  • Stephen Blumenfeld
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Val Hooper
Keywords: Covid-19, pandemic, employee surveillance, monitoring, performance, digital Taylorism, remote work, trade unions, collective bargaining, privacy


While working from home is not a new concept, the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic has, for many in the workforce, rendered it the ‘new normal’, concomitant with enhanced use of workplace surveillance technologies to monitor and track staff working from home. Even prior to the global pandemic, organisations were increasingly using a variety of electronic surveillance methods to monitor their employees and the places where they work, whether it be in an office building or remotely. This technology traverses various facets of the work environment, including email communications, web browsing, the use of active badges for locating and tracking employees, and the gathering of personal information by employers. The application of these technologies, nevertheless, raises privacy concerns, which are exacerbated when work is undertaken in employees’ own homes, a phenomenon that has become more prevalent due to Covid-19. This article addresses the issue of electronic workplace monitoring, its implications for employees’ privacy and the role of collective bargaining in addressing this emergent practice, which has also been given new impetus during the pandemic.

How to Cite
Blumenfeld, S., Anderson, G., & Hooper, V. (2020). Covid-19 and Employee Surveillance. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 45(2), 42-56.