WFH hack | Worker admits 'playing games all day' after secretly automating their £66k job

Worker admits 'playing games all day' after secretly automating their £66k job

An IT worker earning more than £66,000 per year claims to have built a programme to do their job for them, without their boss realising.

As reported by Gaming Bible, the anonymous worker claims to spend their days playing video games – all the while earning circa £66,000 ($90,000) after automating their job whilst working from home.

Posting on Reddit, the anonymous worker wrote: “I work for a mid-size law-firm that hired me as an IT specialist to handle all of their digital evidence for trials.

“The law-firm was in the process of changing their evidence managing system to [be] Cloud based, and wanted me to be the only person with admin access to the Cloud, everyone else would be limited to view only and would work on a local network drive.”

The employee added: “I quickly realized this was the only task they expected me to perform in my 8-hour shift. This was in no way an 8-hour job, so I was stuck pretending to work at the office most of the time.”

And when the pandemic outbreak forced everyone to work from home, their idea was born.

“In about a week I was able to write, debug, and perfect a simple script that performed my entire job,” the worker claimed.

“It essentially scans the on-site drive for any new files, generates hash values for them, transfers them to the Cloud, then generates hash values again for fidelity (in court you have to prove digital evidence hasn't been tampered with),” they explained.

“I clock in every day, play video games or do whatever, and at the end of the day I look over the logs to make sure everything ran smoothly, then clock out. I'm only at my desk maybe 10 minutes a day.”

While admitting that they initially felt guilty about their laziness, “like I was ripping the law-firm off”, the employee said they eventually convinced themselves that but “as long as everyone is happy there's no harm done. I'm doing exactly what they hired me to do, all of the work is done in a timely manner, and I get to enjoy my life. Win win for everyone involved.”

Don’t try this at home!

While this particular employee may have duped his bosses, (if their claims are true), remote workers considering cutting corners may be in for a rude awakening, with many bosses now actively monitoring their work-from-home staff work rates through a variety of methods.

In fact, a new report has found that a staggering 78% of employers are using monitoring tools to track the work performance and activity of their staff.

A study by Instant Offices looked into the different employee monitoring trends that are currently going on in the workplace, and found that, in addition to the use of employee monitoring tools, 94% of employers track emails – and 73% of those companies surveyed say that stored recordings of emails, calls and messages have affected individuals’ performance reviews.

Demand for employee surveillance software grew by a whopping 60% in 2020, and Google searches for “employee monitoring software” increased by 30% from 2019 to 2020, according to the tech giant.

The research found that popular workplace surveillance techniques include keylogger software on company equipment (which alerts supervisors when workers use devices for personal activities); webcams to track biometric data; video surveillance in common areas; and screen monitoring and screenshots to gauge productivity and stress levels.

Why are remote workers trying to trick their bosses?

While a minority of workers, such as the unnamed IT employee, may try to get away with doing less while working from home, a closer inspection suggests the complete opposite for most staff.

For example, another remote worker who recently went viral on TikTok after revealing she uses a ‘mouse mover’ device to make it seem like she was always at her desk, explained to Vice: “Working remotely, your colleagues can’t physically ‘see’ when you get up to go to the bathroom or grab lunch. Or even take 30 minutes to reset on the couch.

“The last thing I wanted during those moments was to be paranoid that people thought I wasn’t working – especially since I felt like I was working more than ever.”

What can HR legally do?

Although the practice of monitoring staff is legal and commonplace, Karen Holden, CEO of a London law firm, previously told HR Grapevine that employers need to protect themselves by showing a legitimate need for it and gaining consent from employees.

She said: "Monitoring employees working remotely or at the office is not illegal if it complies with regulations including the Data Protection Act 2018, and the Employment Practices Data Protection Code 2011.

“The employees should provide their consent and have knowledge of what the employer is doing if an employer is to avoid potential grievances and claims. As such a dedicated policy should be circulated to inform staff of what is being done and why to avoid surprises and confusion (unless this has already been set out in their employment contracts).”

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Comments (2)

  • Darren
    Mon, 14 Feb 2022 9:06am GMT
    Everyone is self-employed, it's just employed people tend to have the one client - their employer. The employer/business had a need and the service provider/employee has fulfilled the need for an mutually agreeable price/cost to the client/employer. Why must the commercials always be in favour of the employer?
  • Hedda
    Fri, 21 Jan 2022 1:08pm GMT
    So if this IT worker is paid for performance - what is the problem? If the company didn't realise they could automate the role, more fool them. Probably a role better outsourced - as it apparently needs highly expert, but very light touch, oversight. Well done IT worker. We hear so much about companies wanting to pay for actual output or impact, rather than 'presenteeism' - so it seems a bit mean to carp when an employee takes you at your word.

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