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Do We Need Big Brother In The Workplace?

February 27, 2017

big brother in the workplace

I know some businesses that use tracking technology on their employees, mostly on cars and vans. So this article made me consider the pro’s and con’s of tracking technology and whether it improved employee productivity or in fact, if it could?

The Pro’s…

Allows management to identify inefficiency and take action to improve employee productivity.

The most common tracking, on vehicles, would allow better route planning I guess. However my experience is that most employers use the tracking information to look for the employee being up to no good – having a rest in a lay by, starting the day late or spending too much time at home when they should be visiting customers or prospects. There are other benefits including supporting lone workers.

The Con’s…

It’s very much a ‘Big Brother’ approach and will disengage staff and increase stress. It is an invasion of privacy and will lead to poorer productivity.

I can see a badly implemented tracking process would have a negative effect on workers.

The article suggests an open culture will accept tracking technology.

In Conclusion…

Let’s accept tracking technology as a form of tool to help a task be better performed. Then would you not involve the worker who performs the task in using that tool to improve the task?

My observation is that management uses the tracking tool to decide for themselves how to improve the task – there is no worker involvement. I would say that organisations who don’t involve the worker don’t have the culture to make tracking work.

Strangely we all seem to accept tracking through our smartphones without too much concern. Is that because we only see the benefits when an App suggests a local attraction / shop / restaurant that might help us?

Big Brother Beware…

My advice for business owners thinking about using tracking technology is to THINK before implementing it. If you aren’t prepared to share the tool with the workers involved then you are creating a ‘Big Brother’ mentality and you are risking current productivity and staff engagement!