At the start of the pandemic, many of us who worked primarily online heeded the call to stay home and started working remotely, even before the hard lockdown went into effect.
The model worked so well that a number of companies elected to keep it that way even when restrictions were eased and we could head on back to the office.
To manage remote working employees, managers and bosses have started using technology to track progress.
Hubstaff can track which websites you’re using, and even measure productivity by mapping how often you type or use your computer mouse. The long and short of it is that when the results came in, Satariano felt a touch violated.
This brings us to Microsoft, which also decided to throw its hat into the productivity monitoring game with the Productivity Score function on Microsoft 365.
According to Engadget, the tool supposedly helps companies understand how workers adopt and use technology, and provides scores out of 100 on several factors, including communications and teamwork.
It also allows them to snoop on employees, because some of the functions are linked to usernames.
The tool could show how many days within a 28-day period that workers (who were identified by name) sent email, used chat, posted in Yammer or included @mentions in emails. This data was visible by default, though those insights could be turned off.
Watch this video. It will explain how things work in more detail:
As I’m sure you can imagine, people weren’t too pleased about this, and Microsoft was hit with accusations of privacy violations.
Think about your micromanaging boss, who when you were still in the office made it his primary objective to check in on you every 30 seconds to make sure that you were still working.
Now imagine that same guy with his hands on this type of technology.
In response to the backlash, Microsoft says it will remove usernames from Productivity Score. Instead, the “communications, meetings, content collaboration, teamwork, and mobility measures in Productivity Score will only aggregate data at the organization level,” Microsoft 365 corporate vice president Jared Spataro wrote in a blog post.
If Microsoft does it, says Spataro, the company won’t be able to “use Productivity Score to access data about how an individual user is using apps and services in Microsoft 365”.
The tool allegedly wasn’t designed to monitor an individual’s work productivity, but gaps in the system have allowed employers to take advantage of it to do just that.
Instead, it’s supposed to centre on the adoption of tech within an organisation.
I’ll be sticking to my Apple Mac, thanks.
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