Employers are using technology to read emails and monitor keystrokes, measure which employees spend the most time on social networking websites and track their movements inside and outside the office. They can see who works fastest and who talks the most on the phone. They can monitor how much time people spend talking to co-workers — and how much time they spend in the bathroom.

It’s all part of an effort to drive down costs and squeeze as much production as possible out of each employee…

If workers in the warehouses complete their tasks faster than expected, they earn a bonus, which helps reduce labor costs because the company can get more work done with fewer people, said Rod van Bebber, senior vice president of operations. Companies learned a lesson during the recession, he said: If there are fewer people and the same amount of work, employees will find a way to get it done.

If everyone does a little more, that can mean “one less employee you have to hire,” Van Bebber said. “That’s one less health and welfare package.”