**Disclaimer: I completely understand the merit of productivity tools for linking up dispersed teams, easy information sharing and project tracking. However I draw the line when they are being used to, hmm how do I put this, spy, on employees and track exactly what they are doing. Using tools like this sends a very clear message: “Employee, we do not trust you enough to get your job done .” How else do you justify the need for daily and weekly progress reports?

This terrifically terrible idea creates a resentment cycle that becomes very hard to break.

Firstly if you think you need to be constantly looking over employees shoulders and checking up on them, warning bells should already be sounding by this point. You may as well stick up posters stating the fact that you do not trust your employees to do their jobs (why then, did you hire them, if not for that very purpose?). Perhaps the thought of giving them autonomy to get the job done makes you feel  completely deranged. Productivity tools that track every little thing point to employees as incapable of managing their time, prioritising and getting the job done. Basically it treats them like machines that need to be given strict instructions and parameters in order to function.

As for the employees – well I’m a responsible adult, capable of running my life, a family, a household, perhaps even a book-club  autonomously outside of the work environment (without a productivity tool tracking my moves) so what do I think of spying and intrusive ways? I resent them and because you, the manager, impose them, by default I resent you too.

Daily progress reports from a team of even 5 people means 5 extra emails into the managers inbox everyday. Everyone in business understands the never ending ‘inbox-clearing battle’. So lets add another 5 mails daily. After a while you can be sure he won’t read them and if he is you can bet he resents the task. It is an unnecessary admin headache that nobody wants or needs. Lest we forget to mention that the projects and tasks on the tools don’t load themselves, some poor, uninspired soul needs to sit and create them.

And here you have the resentment cycle; as a responsible and capable adult I resent your lack of trust in my ability to get my work done in a timeous manner, and you resent the fact that you need to keep me in check. I mean, your employees should be responsible enough to get it done without being babied, surely? Newsflash: they probably are. Just give them a chance to prove themselves and keep motivating them to do so, if they aren’t performing try something revolutionary: have a conversation with them about it. Odds are you’ll uncover the reason for their under-performing and create a workable solution.

From spying and faulty communication comes a resentment cycle, from effective communication and empowerment comes a productivity cycle, no online tool required.


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