• Wells Fargo has fired over a dozen employees after investigating claims that they simulated keyboard activity and gave an impression of active work.
  • Software and devices that simulate active work have increased with the increase in work-from-home and hybrid work models.

Want to simulate keyboard activity and give your employer the impression that you are actively working? Think again! According to a Bloomberg report, Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the U.S., fired over a dozen employees last month after investigating allegations of being involved in this practice. According to the disclosures the bank filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the fired employees worked in the bank’s wealth and investment management unit. A spokesman for the bank said, “Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior.”

In 2022, the bank asked most workers to return to the physical workspace and work under a hybrid model. The finance industry was one of the first to ask its employees to return to the office once the COVID-19 pandemic started waning. According to the Bloomberg report, it is unclear whether the employees were fired for allegedly faking active work from the office or home.

See more: 80% of Organizations Will Track Their Employee Office Attendance in 2024

The increase in work-from-home and hybrid work models has led to many organizations adopting remote worker surveillance techniques. These techniques involve installing software on work machines that track user activity and report to management. In fact, according to a Digital.com survey, 60% of companies with remote employees use this type of software.

However, several options exist for those who want to shirk their work. These options include software that mimics keyboard presses and devices available on Amazon for a low cost. Further, to counter monitoring from organizations, several devices, also referred to as “mouse jigglers” or “mouse movers,” are sold on Amazon. Tracking the use of these tools becomes challenging for organizations, especially in a remote setting.

These layoffs remind us of an earlier episode at Wells Fargo in 2018. A few workers in the firm’s investment bank were investigated for alleged violations of its expense policy when they tried to get the bank to pay for ineligible meals.