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ALOISI, A. and DE STEFANO, V. (2022), Essential jobs, remote work and digital surveillance: Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic panopticon. International Labour Review, 161: 289-314.


COVID-19 pandemic; essential workers; work-from-home; digital surveillance; electronic performance monitoring; managerial prerogatives; algorithmic management; collective bargaining


COVID-19-induced digital surveillance has ballooned in an unprecedented fashion, causing a reconfiguration of power relationships in professional settings. This article critically concentrates on the interplay between technology-enabled intrusive monitoring and the managerial prerogatives augmentation in physical and digital workplaces. It portrays excessive control as the common denominator for “essential” and “remotable” activities, besides discussing the various drawbacks of the two categories of workers during the pandemic. It also assesses the adequacy of the current EU legal framework in addressing the expansion of data-driven management. Social dialogue, empowerment and digital literacy are identified as effective solutions to promote organisational flexibility, well-being and competitiveness.


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