Employee surveillance may become more invasive

An app and fitness band combo will now be able to track employees at all times.

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Very soon employers will be able to keep track of their employees at all times by getting them to use an app and fitness band. The app developed by a professor of Dartmouth College, in the US, reportedly works by using the sensors in the employees’ smartphones.

Simply put, this invasive system will be able to literally spy on the employees. It will be able to keep track of the amount of physical activity the employees indulge in, as well as their location and movements within or outside the workplace.

The app, which is called PhoneAgent, will be linked to a fitness band, which the employees will be wearing. This gives the employers information about the employees’ cardiac activity, calorie consumption, stress levels and even sleep quality. It will reveal the amount of time spent by the employees at home and at work, and also how frequently they get up from their workstations.

The data gathered by the app is sent to a cloud server and assessed by a machine-learning algorithm, to determine performance levels. During a trial run, the app was able to successfully differentiate the performance levels of hundreds of workers across industries.

As per the app, the high performers tend to use their phone less, get sufficient sleep, sleep soundly and indulge in more physical activity.

Such a monitoring device can help employees to take steps to improve individual performance, and also help employers evaluate the performance of the workers with ease. But what if organisations misuse such apps to increase profits at the cost of putting employees through unnecessary pressure? This will remain a debatable topic.

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