With many companies working from home during the pandemic, managers and employers have found themselves in a difficult position with running scattered teams away from the office. Some have turned to technology to help, but they may be walking a dangerous path using tools like artificial intelligence and algorithms to track employees and their work throughout the day, or even facial recognition that can ensure that someone is at their desk.
A recent report by the Institute for the Future of Work, a British research and development group, said that algorithmic systems typically used in monitoring the performance of warehouse workers or delivery riders have pervaded more and more industries. Prospect has published some research into workers’ attitude to these technologies. The majority of respondents in one survey said they were uncomfortable with the likes of camera monitoring or keystroke monitoring.
This technology is catching more and more attention from critics. Microsoft faced a backlash over its “productivity score” in Microsoft 365, which allowed managers to track an employee’s output. Microsoft has since rowed back on the product’s features, minimizing the data collected on individuals.