If you’ve ever tracked your sleep pattern or steps on your phone or Fitbit, you know how creepy, yet accurate, it can get. Like, how in the world did it know you briefly woke up at 3 AM, or that you biked instead of walked to work today?
But that’s just personal health stuff, no harm done.
Now, how would you feel if your boss could also see where you are at any given time, how much you talk to co-workers, and even how fast your heart beats when you’re nervous in a meeting?
Pretty crazy idea, right? And it’s not just a theory, it’s actually a thing. According to a recent Washington Post article, Humanyze, a Boston analytics company, has developed a company badge that does just this. With built-in microphones, sensors, and motion detectors, the small lanyard is the ultimate tracker, recording your emotional and physical responses throughout the day. And they’re not the first company to do this—in January, The Daily Telegraph installed trackers underneath its employees’ desks.
Before you freak out and threaten to quit if your company goes down this road, know that the device isn’t meant to invade your personal space. It doesn’t record what you say to others, and Humanyze doesn’t provide employers with each individual’s results, but rather a broad summary of the company’s data. And at this company, you have a choice as to whether or not you want to use one. (Plus, it doesn’t work in the bathroom, so you’re covered there.)
It may sound creepy, but it’s also (supposedly) helpful for productivity. The goal is to track performance and see what’s working and what’s not. For example, by monitoring how sales associates talk to clients, or how employees work with each other, the data can presumably identify what strategies and environments are most efficient and successful. Motherboard contributor Mark Mann states that this kind of technology could even encourage socializing between co-workers and create a more balanced routine for unhappy employees.
So, while it does seem like an excuse for your micromanaging boss to nit-pick every move you make, it sounds like it has a lot of potential to promote healthy and effective work environments. And is that the worst thing?
Our future looks like it will be full of technology, and maybe, just maybe, that’s not so horrible.
Photo of office moving courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.
As an Associate Editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author