Firms hire private investigators to spy on staff working from home to see if they’re lying when they claim they can’t come in due to coronavirus
- Employers are hiring private investigators to check on staff working from home
- Accountancy and law firms are among those carrying out the surveillance work
- They want to see if employees are lying when they cannot come in due to Covid
- Bosses are also checking if those quarantining after travel are obeying the rules
Employers are hiring private investigators to snoop on staff while they work from home, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Accountancy and law firms are among those using private eyes to carry out surveillance work to check if employees are lying when they claim they can’t come in due to Covid-19.
One Manchester-based private investigator told The Mail on Sunday: ‘That was a type of work you never really got prior to lockdown. Now we see a lot of enquiries. It is quite prevalent.
‘We get employers using us for surveillance to confirm that people are actually working and not going out of the house.’
Employeers are hiring private investigators to check if employees are lying when they claim they can’t come in due to Covid-19 (stock photo)
Bosses are also paying to check if employees who should be quarantining after returning from holiday are obeying the rules.
‘Some companies feel they have a duty of care to check that they really are self-isolating if they are supposed to,’ the source said.
‘A lot of companies that are making people work from home are putting control mechanisms in on the tech so they can monitor their productivity.
‘If you’ve got someone who is meant to be self-isolating for whatever reason, and they’ve been mixing it up in a pub or at a protest, or somewhere else they shouldn’t really be, then potentially they’re going to put staff at work at risk when they do come back in.’
Diligens Private Investigations, a Kent-based private detective agency, last week put out an advert saying it ‘received enquiries from companies where some staff are staying away from the workplace due to their anxiety of leaving home during the current pandemic. However, they are then seen out and about.’
The firm offers to gather ‘evidence’ on staff suspected of doing the same.
Another company offers surveillance services to track working-from-home employees, including tracing to see if and why they are leaving their house.
The Manchester-based private investigator described a recent job: ‘There were concerns about an employee, whether he was working elsewhere.
Accountancy and law firms are among those using private eyes to check if employees who should be quarantining after returning from holiday are obeying the rules (stock photo)
‘We carried out surveillance and we confirmed the subject at the property. He never left the property and no one came to the property either. They [the employer] were quite happy that the person wasn’t lying.’
The Government has halted efforts to get people back into offices following a recent rise in Covid-19 infections.
The Confederation of British Industry said that the changed guidance was a ‘crushing’ blow that would have a devastating impact on city and town centres.
A quarter of businesses say having staff working from home has led to a drop in their productivity during the pandemic, a survey by the Office for National Statistics found last week.
This figure is twice the proportion of firms that reported that remote working had increased productivity.