PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – High-tech tracking devices that can monitor your entire day on the job could be the future of office life.
The company behind it wants to convince big business and employees that being watched can be a good thing.
But, is it really?
“It’s sort of like a Fitbit for your career,” Humanyze CEO Ben Waber said.
Just like a Fitbit, it’s with you all day long.
The same ID badge that opens office doors can now track your every move and more.
“We are essentially able to augment those ID badges to figure out in real time really what people are doing at work,” Waber said.
The badges are outfitted with Bluetooth, infrared, a motion sensor, and two microphones.
Those microphones don’t record what people are actually saying, just if they’re communicating with a colleague.
“You are the only one who sees data about yourself,” Waber said.
The boss never sees data about one specific employee, but instead sees information such as graphs that can show if the sales team is collaborating with the engineering team, if groups of employees are spending too much time in meetings, or too much time alone at their desk.
It’s all the brainchild of a start-up company called Humanyze.
“The way this works is this is opt-in. We will never present individual data and if you don’t want to participate you don’t have to,” Waber said.
Waber said this information is not only good for a company’s bottom line, but to let businesses know if their policies are having an impact.
“For example, we know how many women are in a company so how much of the time are they invited to meetings? How much of their managers communicate with them? Really simple stuff,” Waber said.
As you might imagine, not all employees want to be watched-over at work.
“It’s a little disconcerting I think,” one woman said.
“Employees, they don’t want big brother looking at them,” one man said.
“Employers have always been able to monitor employees,” Elaine Varelas, a Human Resources Consultant with Keystone Associates, said.
Varelas said like it or not, companies are already able to keep tabs on employees through emails, phone calls and time online.
But, with Humanyze, the aim is to take monitoring beyond the individual level.
“It goes way past micro-managing an individual employee — and it says how can as an organization — we take a look at the things that our employees are currently doing,” Varelas said
It’s all perfectly legal but Varelas still welcomes new regulations.
“Right now, you can’t follow people into the bathroom — that’s clearly a minimal – but there should be more,” she said.