The Eerie New Way Employers May Track Your Productivity
Photo: Hermes Rivera / Unsplash

The Eerie New Way Employers May Track Your Productivity

Don’t look now, but the dystopian technology is already used in some sectors—and it may become even more widespread

We really can’t escape dystopian tech. I recently wrote about the NYPD's strange surveillance following last weekend’s Drake concert and eerie technology that allows for convos with a dead person’s hologram. The odd future is now, and it’s infiltrating every aspect of life—even remote work.

Earlier this month, news reports circulated about a Canadian accountant who sued her former employer for wrongful termination. In a wild twist, it was revealed that the employee engaged in “time theft”; the Canadian court ruled she must repay $2,756—the equivalent of 50 hours worth of work that she apparently didn’t perform. The British Columbia-based accounting firm, Reach CPA, used software called TimeCamp to log work activity.

Related: The Dystopian Era of Housing Tied to Your Employer Is Knocking at Your Door

Regardless of the employee’s fugazi hour logs, this feels like an overbearing tech nightmare. Not sure how things appear at your gig, but my guess is people are barely working at most on-site corporate jobs. And even if folks spend a considerable amount of time lollygagging while on the clock, they’re much more productive doing it at home than at the office.

To expect people to sit at a computer constantly working for eight hours is insane. And to dock somebody for staring into space for 20 minutes is pure Scrooge McDuck/Mr. Krabs activity. It’s worth noting employees in retail and restaurant environments are treated like this by their bosses; it’s a large part of why they’re more depressed than most and are the demographic that still smokes cigarettes like it’s 1974.

This technology can get a lot more invasive than an app on your computer. Since 2018, it’s been federally mandated that all long-haul truck drivers use electronic logging devices. These ELDs can help improve safety, but they also track eye movements using facial cameras, allowing their employers to nickel-and-dime the time truckers are working. Soon enough, this software could go mainstream and monitor employees at home and in every corporate workspace—well, except the CEO's office, of course. Cherish the days of WFH naps while you can!

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