We Are NOT a SPY Tool!
Do you know what can get frustrating?
When you spend the time to develop and build something, to help those in a similar situation (and the hope that people will pay to use it 😁). It’s sad to find that people have ideas of using it invasively and as a way to spy on their employees.
NO! We don’t agree, believe in or are interested in spying on employees!
For those of you who haven’t heard of or used PukkaTeam it’s a tool we’ve built to help bridge a communication gap between remote team employees, to bring them closer together and make communication between them, easy/simple — like they are sitting next to each other.
But some people want to try and use this for spying/monitoring purposes. 😢
Now, it’s not to say that we get these questions all the time. The majority of the people use this for bringing greater unity to their team, however, when we do get this type of question;
We look, we sigh and explain what the tool does.
What can make this more annoying, is that this misconception can then further the idea to others that this is a tool for monitoring and spying on others.
To be clear, apart from seeing that your teammate is sitting in front of there computer, there is no way to spy on someone with our app. Sadly, we’re constantly asked for waits to spy on employees/teammates. So we want to educate on the uses and what the tool is really designed for…..
What does the app do?
We initially built PukkaTeam to provide the ability to be able to look over and see your teammates and communicate with them, as if you were sitting next to them in the office.
It does this by using your webcam to take a picture of you every couple of minutes, which is then shown on the app. Your team would all be logged into the app, and be able to see these and use this to glance at and see if someone in the team is available, or away from their desk etc.
This then evolved to include being able to set your status to let everyone know if you were busy and didn’t want to be disturbed and also the provision of simple 1-click video calling. This altogether makes the whole communication process, much easier and more fluid, helping to bridge the communication gap between remote teammates.
Imagine the scenario:
Jeff is working in an open office.
Jeff has a colleague called Michelle, who is working from home.
Jeff is heading into a meeting in 5 minutes and needs to speak to Michelle regarding a project they’re working on together.
However, because Michelle is working remotely, Jeff doesn’t know if she’s available.
This is a fairly common occurrence, not knowing if someone is available because you can’t see if they are.
If both were in the office, Jeff would be able to turn around, look over to Michelle’s desk and see if she was there.
However, when someone works remotely, this luxury isn’t so readily available. But with PukkaTeam, Jeff would be able to quickly check the app and:
If Michelle is available, Jeff can start a video call to quickly talk over the project details.
If Michelle is unavailable, Jeff can send her a quick email or instant message, to ask her to send over what he needs.
This visual presence provides Jeff with the ability to make an informed decision, and not be left there panicking that he can’t get through to Michelle because she’s just ‘watching tv’ at home.
We’re not saying this is the only tool you’ll ever need (yet 😉). There are other tools you might use alongside, like email or an instant messenger like Slack. But it does provide the nicety of being able to quickly check if someone is available.
It’s designed to bring a remote team closer, provide that ability to glance over at the app and see if someone’s available when you need them. For anyone who wants to use it to monitor their teams, watch their every move and see when you’re at your desk, we’ll tell you now — this tool is not what you’re looking for!
To even consider accomplishing this, you’d have to hire someone full time to continually watch the app and note down each time someone is not at their desk.
It would be like buying a unicycle as your main form of transportation. Sure you COULD use a unicycle to get your shopping, commute to see family and everything else you need. But it would be so much more practical (and easier) to get a car.
This however, doesn’t get past the overarching reason that people will look to use a tool like this to spy on their team.
Why is that exactly?
So, why the misconception
On the surface, for those that haven’t heard of the tool, and don’t understand its application, it can seem a little like ‘big brother’.
When I tell family or friends that we have a tool that takes intermittent snapshots of the team, which are then shared between us, their normal response is something along the lines of:
“So it’s a tool used to spy on you.”
And in follow-up conversations, I invariably get asked:
“Do they still use that spy tool where you work?”
To some degree, I understand where they are coming from, out of context or use, the snapshot part may sound a little intrusive/invasive. But it is no different to someone in an office, sitting there and watching you all day. They could do this, but they’d end up getting no work done.
As we mentioned before, you could try and use it for this, but it would be highly impractical. It’s more useful for taking a quick glance across to see if someone is available, or even in work that day.
So, is PukkaTeam a big brother tool? Let’s take a look at the reply….
The underlying fear is that people think that they will be watched, to monitor attendance, see when they’re not at their desk.
Which we’ve seen is hugely impractical — seriously, try and see if you can monitor how often people are at their desks. Then try doing this while making productive progress with your work.
It’s very difficult.
The reality is that just as if you are in an office, people will glance over, see if you’re at your desk, and catch you yawning because your coffee hasn’t kicked in ☕️
This then, leads us onto the related, second point of contention — what happens to the snapshots it takes of you (and your team)?
This is another thought, surely this is something that can cause some unease with people using the platform. With data protection, these are valid concerns. Let me rest your minds at ease and briefly tell you how the snapshot part works.
The app uses your webcam to take a snapshot.
Your snapshot is then updated on the app, where your team can then see if you’re available.
A new snapshot is taken (either manually or once the timer ticks down).
This new snapshot updates on the app.
The old one is overwritten removed, deleted, no longer in existence.
The only snapshot that is retained is the last one that was taken. So let me answer the question….
The answer — No.
This then takes us onto the final part of this, the underlying problem with people who try to use PukkaTeam (or any tool), to monitor their team — a lack of trust.
Why a remote team needs to be built on trust
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again now.
For a remote team to work and be successful, its foundation needs to be built on trust. Your team needs to know that you trust them to do their work, that you will not be ‘looking over their shoulders’ to micromanage them. You’ve got the best people to work for you, surely they can be trusted to work
If you can’t trust your team to do their work, you may as well get them to work in an office, (by the way, here are our tips on how to build trust in a remote team).
Or alternatively, have them work remotely and use PukkaTeam as your virtual office 😊