Even if you are thousands of miles away from the office and wearing your pajamas, your boss could still be watching you just as closely as if you were sitting in the next cubicle over.
Some companies are monitoring employees' every keystroke no matter where they are working, and that's leading to more than just sniffing out who is stealing company secrets. It's also giving some employers a pretty good idea of whether their remote workers are keeping as busy as the ones who are sitting in the cubicle farm.
In some cases, companies are finding that remote workers can be just as productive, if not more so—especially once they find out that the boss is keeping tabs on them.
"That's a very typical consequence," said Dan Enthoven, vice president of marketing for Enkata, which makes technology that monitors insurance claims processors and call center workers.
The growing ability to watch workers' every move comes as some companies appear to be growing more accepting of telecommuting, both as a way to keep employees happy and as a way to keep office costs down. About 13.4 million people, or about 9.5 percent of workers, were working from home at least some of the time in 2010. That's up from about 9.2 million workers in 1997, according to the Census Bureau.
Still, others, such as tech giant Yahoo, are clamping down on it.
When Yahoo banned telecommuting earlier this year, the company said it wanted employees to be in the same physical space so they could collaborate better. But others worry that, if left to their own devices, home-based workers will watch TV, do laundry, play "Angry Birds" or otherwise slack off.