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Workplace Surveillance Becoming More Common 195

An anonymous reader writes For better or worse, surveillance technology is becoming more common in the workplace. These tools are being used to measure and monitor employees, with the promise changing how people work. "Through these new means, companies have found, for example, that workers are more productive if they have more social interaction. So a bank's call center introduced a shared 15-minute coffee break, and a pharmaceutical company replaced coffee makers used by a few marketing workers with a larger cafe area. The result? Increased sales and less turnover." Of course, this kind of monitoring raises privacy concerns. "Whether this kind of monitoring is effective or not, it's a concern," said Lee Tien, a senior staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.
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Workplace Surveillance Becoming More Common

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2014 @09:49PM (#47295553)

    Seriously - they needed surveillance to figure out that workers were happier and more productive when they had some shared sense of purpose?

    Most likely those companies are simply re-discovering the Hawthorne Effect [] and exhibiting more irony than a Portland hipster considering its classic industrial psychology.

  • Listen up, Japanese. (Score:4, Informative)

    by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:39PM (#47295899) Homepage
    I'm an embedded systems engineer for a company in the US, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of a large Japanese company. We enjoy comforts like alternate work schedules, telecommuting, etc. Our Japanese counterparts, however, arrive at work promptly at 8 am, spend much of each day in meetings, and then begin actual work well after noon. They work late into the night (~8:30P or later), have dinner at 10, go to bed and wake up the next day for more of the same. And, they work on Saturday. Additionally, they all wear uniforms -- it's like watching prisoners march to the mess hall when it's time for their collective department lunch break, given at 45 minute intervals.

    Not only are they not as productive, their creativity is obviously stifled. Aside from the cultural norm of not wanting to rock the boat or "think outside the box", they are simply unable to innovate and create the same way we are. Indeed, when they need some creative problem solving, they come here to the US for brainstorming sessions. And, the frustrating thing is, I get the impression that they feel their way is superior. Not so. They live to work, while we work to live.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2014 @06:52AM (#47296871)

    "Of course, this kind of monitoring raises privacy concerns."

    What privacy concerns would those be? You have no expectation of privacy at work except when on the phone or emailing with your spouse, doctor, lawyer, or other professional where there is a statutory privilege (which may or may not be permitted anyway, depending on employer policy regarding personal use of company resources).

    The company has every right to monitor how its resources are being used. Employees who misuse company resources are committing Honest Services Fraud, which is a Felony.

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad