CoStar, a $26 billion data company, is a giant within the commercial real estate industry.
Employees say the company adopted authoritarian tactics toward people working from home.
IT workers described how they were asked to surveil remote workers during the pandemic.
Insiders say that CoStar, a powerful commercial real estate data firm worth $26 billion, has become an authoritarian workplace in its bid to control employees working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Insider’s Daniel Geiger and Alex Nicoll interviewed 29 current and former CoStar workers about the company’s strict attitude toward employees working from home, which they said included surveillance, humiliation by managers over video meetings, and abrupt firings for seemingly minor infractions.
Managers and information technology workers told Insider that they were asked to closely monitor employees working from home at the start of the pandemic. They said they were told to take notes on employees’ outfits, whether or not they enabled their cameras on video calls, and whether or not they were at their desks.
“As a manager, I was privy to this information about my team, and they would come down on me, like, ‘How did you know that I wasn’t at my desk at that specific time?'” one manager who left the company last year told Insider.
IT employees also said they were instructed to conduct 100 surprise video calls in May of 2020, and to note any employee who failed to pick up after three tries.
CoStar, for its part, has defended its rules and practices, including around employees working from home.
“We will not apologize for these standards, nor will we compromise them to accommodate a vocal few who decide that this level of expectation is not for them,” a CoStar representative said in a statement.
Do you have a CoStar story to share? Contact reporter Alex Nicoll via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (646) 768-4772 using a non-work phone, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Twitter DM at @AlexONicoll.
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