Manager · Productivity

Will our productivity tools eventually be used to measure/spy on us?

Whitney MPA Founder & Director at Hello, My Name is KING, Inc.

May 24th, 2017

A new Quartz article explores the not-so-far-off possibility that productivity apps (such as, but not limited to, Slack) might someday be used to monitor and measure our productivity and emotions and report that data to our managers. Personally, I don’t want a computer telling my superiors how it perceives that I feel or making judgments about me. Is this the future of workplace chat and productivity apps?

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

May 24th, 2017

Yes. The reasons why are to protect companies and shareholders from aberrant behavior of all employees, not just to measure performance. You may be upset with a supervisor (think Uber) and the message is not being delivered. This needs to be known. It is a double-edged sword for the company because it is part of the record, as email has been for the last 20 years. In the event of a complaint, the thread will be part of the litigation. Your have the choice, however: What you do not want as an exhibit in a law suit should not be on the corporate systems.

Michael K.

Last updated on May 24th, 2017

As soon as your employer does that, you should be looking for a new job.

Employees, especially the white-collar type who might use Slack, need to get past this ridiculous notion that they are subordinate to their employers and need to live in fear of being terminated over the slightest lack of productivity. Employment is a two-way street, and you deserve better than to be spied on.

That article does a great job at creating fake drama by positing "It’s easy to imagine this turning into an Orwellian nightmare..." But it does so at the risk of not making sense. An actual Orwellian environment cannot be escaped. You're likely employed "at-will", and can leave whenever it suits you. And given the low unemployment rate, now is a pretty good time.