Employee Malingering During COVID-19
Is there a way to stamp out employee malingering? The answer is complicated.
Employee malingering is becoming a problem for some employers. As some states move forward with plans to open their states back up during the global COVID-19 pandemic, many are looking forward to life returning to some semblance of normalcy. While businesses make plans to reopen their doors, there are others that will keep the bulk of their operations remote with employees working from home in order to mitigate the spread of the disease. While many employers feel this precaution is still prudent, there is the additional layer of anxiety about whether employees are keeping their noses to the grindstone, or malingering.
Obviously, these are strange times. A majority of businesses in the United States were forced to shut down direct business to customer operations in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Employees who were not furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19 have been forced to adjust to a new working life devoid of work-life balance—their work is literally in the home—complete with the distraction of children, family, pets, spouses, and other household distractions. It is a stressful time, and it can be difficult to maintain focus. Corporations and organizations should always prioritize their employee’s mental health for the sake of their corporate culture. These predictable challenges with suddenly working from home should not be considered employee malingering. However, willful malingering can lay huge blows to daily productivity and ultimately profits. Employers must have a way to verify whether or not their employees are actually working.
Under more normal, stable circumstances, employers have the benefit of face to face interaction for determining how engaged and productive their employees are. In addition to output, supervisors can note how many breaks they take, the quality of the work, and the level of communication from the employee, both on and offline. However, remote working has made detecting employee malingering almost impossible.
Telecommunication technology has played a vital role in facilitating the continuation of the economy despite the quarantine. Meetings are held over Zoom, employee time is tracked through invoices or through an online time clock of sorts that allows employees to log their time worked and have their timesheets stored on a cloud server. Short of a live camera feed that documents the employee in front of the computer or on the phone, is there truly a way to verify if they are actually working?
The idea of hiring a private investigator to surveil your employees may sound strange or even wrong, but it’s a highly common business practice that legally exposes the drain an individual employee might be having on your company. Private investigators can track an employee’s movements during the time they have invoiced or logged, ensuring that any errands outside the home are work-related and have some value to the corporation. Private investigators can document these movements with GPS trackers placed under their car, photographing their activities in public to either prove or disprove employee malingering. Private investigators are trained to blend in with their surroundings, and conduct surveillance discretely to prevent their cover from being blown, so in the event that no employee malingering is found, no one is the wiser.
If you suspect your employee is malingering on your dime, reach out to Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our surveillance services. Call us at 317-951-1100, or visit our website at lauthinvestigations.com