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WFH lying and cheating can get you dismissed

Female employee working from home lying / making excuses to her boss. WFH lying and cheating can get you dismissed is stories of what not to do. You have to apply a element of discipline when your you own boss.

It’s only my concern what i do at home?

Working from home lying and cheating has become widespread ever since the recent introduction of hybrid working arrangements for many Australians. Remote working has of course provided employees with newfound freedom, with many arguing it should become a protected right.

However, the argument that workers should spend more time in the office is increasingly being supported by the many cases of WFH lying and cheating. In this article, we look at some of the most common and extreme examples of workers flouting the rules of WFH arrangements.

This includes workers using ‘mouse jigglers’ to simulate work activity and those taking ‘hush trips’ to secretly holiday while pretending to be at home. And believe it or not, some employees are even using WFH privileges as cover for extramarital affairs. Some employers perceive this as serious misconduct and employees need to return to the workplace or be sacked.

Employee sitting at home, relaxing just waiting for his pay to arrive. Employer’s always look for a return on their investment in you. This casual behaviour may end in your dismissal or being made redundant.

Top 3 types of WFH lying and cheating

A 2023 survey of over 600 Australian remote workers by revealed that 22 per cent worked productively for 30 to 50 per cent of the day. Meanwhile, 21 per cent worked productively for 60 to 70 per cent of the day and 18 per cent worked productively for less than 30 per cent of the day.

There are countless surveys online detailing some of the WFH lying and cheating that some employees are up to. As these surveys are based on the responses of a small number of people, we should be wary of applying the results to all remote workers. However, they do provide an indication of the most prevalent kinds of WFH cheating going on. Let’s look at the top three:

  1. Napping

A 2024 survey of 1,250 full time workers by sleep product retailer Sleep Doctor found that 45 per cent of WFH employees are catching forty winks during work hours at least once per week. Thirty four per cent of remote workers reported that they nap for more than an hour on average. Twenty seven per cent of workers also said that they have dozed off during a virtual meeting, with 70 per cent of those workers turning their camera and sound off to do so.

  • Browsing social media

A 2020 survey of 2,0000 US workers by mobile phone retailer Sell Cell revealed that social media was a huge distraction for around 61 per cent of respondents.

  • Watching TV

A 2020 survey by Fast Company revealed that 57 per cent of remote employees have binge-watched TV while at work. In addition, the Sell Cell survey found that around 42 per cent of WFH employees visited adult sites while on the clock. While around 33 per cent admitted to gaming.

Employees need to take ownership of their own behaviour. If your laughing and lying on the phone to your employer eventually you will be caught out. “Short term gain for long term pain”.

Bank employees dismissed for faking keystrokes while working from home

In June 2024, one of the biggest banks in the US fired more than a dozen employees for allegedly simulating work while working from home. They were accused of using devices to simulate keyboard activity, thereby creating a false impression of active engagement in their work duties.

The dismissed employees were part of Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management unit, a critical segment of the bank’s operations. A company spokesperson said that “Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behaviour.”

WHF workers using ‘mouse jigglers,’ fake meetings and more

One way some employees are simulating activity are new devices designed just for WFH lying and cheating. Known as “mouse jigglers” or “mouse movers,” they are devices on which you can place your mouse or insert into a USB port to stimulate cursor movement. On social media sites like Reddit, posts about “undetectable” mouse jigglers are rife. However, some workers have come up with far simpler and cheaper solutions to simulate work activity.

“You can place your mouse on an analog wrist watch to simulate mouse movement,” said one on the Overemployed subreddit. “Just open a word doc, stick a paper clip in keyboard to the right of the page down key,” said another. Another method of appearing like you have a busier schedule while working from home is setting up fake meetings with yourself.

“Anyone else add fake meetings in their calendar to get out of work?” asked a commenter on the Antiwork subreddit. “Would rather take a nap.” Another on the WFH subreddit provided a more detailed plan of action for creating a fake busy schedule. “Create a daily Teams meeting that covers your lunch hour, and invite only yourself. Before leaving for lunch, join the meeting from your laptop,” the commentor wrote.

“This will keep your status as in a meeting and will keep you from going inactive. Repeat as needed for any time you want to step away from your machine for an extended period.”

In addition to these methods, some WFH workers are also taking advantage of the “incognito” mode in web browsers to surf the web without leaving any trace of their web history. Others are scheduling emails to be sent at specific times – for instance, early or late in the day – to give the impression that they are working around the clock.

Sort of working down the beach. Employers are no longer paying for this in tougher economic times. Many put their day up on social media, get caught out and dismissed.

Employers are responding with ‘bossware’

With WFH lying and cheating on the rise, employers are increasingly monitoring their workers with digital tools colloquially known as “bossware.” Installed on the workers’ computer or mobile device, this software can monitor keystrokes, mouse activity, emails, web browsing history and instant messages, among other things. Some types of bossware can even record everything on the employee’s screen or record them through their webcam and microphone.

Employers can access analytics about each of their employee’s work rate and daily activity. Sometimes they can even access a daily productivity score for each worker. You may be asking; is this kind of monitoring legal in Australia? Well, it really depends which state or territory you are in. To find out if it’s legal where you are, you can read our article detailing the laws across Australia.

Should WFH employees be paid less?

While some employers are surveilling WFH employees, others are advocating that they are paid less. A 2023 survey by global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills revealed that 37 per cent of senior executives at large Australian corporations plan to differentiate pay between WFH and on-site staff over the next three to five years. Meanwhile, around 38 per cent of respondents said they believe working from home will become a privilege earned through trust and seniority.

Female employee about to be dismissed for not completing her work from home. Her reasons started out as excuses and evolved into lying. It’s hard to argue a successful unfair dismissal claim at the Fair Work Commission based on you lying to your employer. If your struggling with your job or increasingly distracted working from home be honest with your employer.

Australian boss dismisses WFH workers for slacking off

In April 2024, an Australian boss made global headlines when he fired three employees based on data from monitoring software. The unnamed company director first grew suspicious when he noticed changes in his team’s behavior. According to him, communication on work group chats dwindled, response times for emails increased and calls went unanswered. These observations prompted him to investigate further.

“The time between calls started to get longer. Instead of a call every 15 minutes, it was every 20 minutes and then every half an hour. And then there’s like two-hour gaps of nothing happening …” he said.

Boss implements monitoring tools

To confirm his suspicions, the director decided to implement tracking software featuring a calendar. Sales staff were required to log tasks, reminders and scheduled or completed calls, allowing the director to monitor the frequency of calls and notes. The director said the average salesperson would “get between four and 10 calls an hour.”  Notes were required to be made with each call. However, via the software, he noticed that “No notes were being left.”

He soon discovered that many calls were not being logged at all. In fact, several entries were identified as “ghost calls” – fabricated logs with no actual communication. After 18 months of monitoring, the director concluded that three sales staff were not meeting work expectations. He decided to dismiss them for insufficient work.

The boss said that WFH lying and cheating is common. “Many of us have that friend…who’s boasting about taking their employer for a ride,” he said, before defending his monitoring of staff. “Sometimes employers are made out to be the bad guys — but some of us are just small companies doing our best.”

Employees WFH are now increasingly protesting during work hours. Easy to pop out for a few hours. Why not? It’s a good cause. Then guess what?, they appear on social media or television. Employers are not paying for this, dispite any beliefs you may have. Work time is work time.

WFH has created “stealth workers” and “hush trips”

Some employees are doing more than simply slacking off; they’re taking WFH lying and cheating to new heights. One such group of employees have become known as “stealth workers” who take “hush trips.” In other words, they secretly work from holiday destinations like Bali or live abroad without informing their employers.

For example, in February 2023 a Victorian employee told SBS’ The Feed that she has taken five hush trips. These have allowed her to work from “home” while actually being somewhere completely different. In her case, Queensland or Canberra. So, how did she pull off this audacious WFH lying and cheating? She simply blurred her background on virtual meetings or claimed to work from different rooms in her house.

Almost half of surveyed GenZers have taken a hush trip

A 2023 US survey revealed that 44 per cent of GenZ workers have taken a hush trip, with 65 per cent using a virtual background to fool their boss. Of these workers, 30 per cent said that they only worked three to four hours per day while on their secret trip. Fifty one per cent travelled interstate, while 17 per cent went overseas. So popular are secret WFH holidays that some hotels, like this Marriot in Florida, are advertising lodgings as a “Hush Trip Haven.” 

However, the survey revealed that not all hush trippers got away with their secret WFH holiday. Only 45 per cent of workers said they managed to keep their hush trip secret. Forty one per cent reported that their boss found out about their trip, while 14 per cent were unsure.

The employer might have suspicions about what your up to at home. Careful they don’t set a trap for you. Feel unfairly treated or targeted give us a call.

Some workers have taken WFH lying and cheating to even further extremes than simply taking a secret holiday. A survey of 2,000 members of dating site for married people revealed that many use flexible working privileges as cover for having an affair.

The survey found that 37 per cent of men use the excuse of “I’m in the office” to meet up with their secret lover. Eighty seven per cent of those adulterers said they usually use this excuse on a Monday or Friday. The survey also found that only 23 per cent of these men felt guilty about cheating on their spouse. However, 97 per cent said they would feel guilty if their affair was discovered by their wife.

A sex and relationships expert at said that “the hybrid worker is an opportunistic adulterer.” “It’s no surprise Fridays have taken over from dirty weekends, there’s no more solid alibi than going to work.” Interestingly, a return to the office was also heavily favoured by survey respondents. Seventy eight per cent believed it would make it easier to have an affair with a colleague.

Myths are that WFH is cruisey and better work life balance. The facts are you have to do your job and not get distracted. Working from home is not for everybody.

Need to take your employer to Fair Work?

Our team at Whole New Approach can help you make a claim through the Fair Work Commission. We can help you seek justice if you have been a victim of unfair dismissal, adverse action, workplace harassment, discrimination or another workplace rights violation. We are not lawyers, but the nations leading commentators and advisors.

Make sure to call us today, because you only 21 days from your dismissal date to file a claim with the Fair Work Commission. We can help you quickly understand if you have a case to make, and how to go about it.

We offer a no win, no fee service. And advice is free.

Contact A Whole New Approach today at 1800 333 666 to access the support you require.

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