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Eurocat
Northwestern Fan
Member since Apr 2004
13432 posts

NYTimes - Companies installing new programs to monitor remote workers

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In lower-paying jobs, the monitoring is already ubiquitous: not just at Amazon, where the second-by-second measurements became notorious, but also for Kroger cashiers, UPS drivers and millions of others.

Now digital productivity monitoring is also spreading among white-collar jobs and roles that require graduate degrees. Many employees, whether working remotely or in person, are subject to trackers, scores, “idle” buttons, or just quiet, constantly accumulating records.

Employees at UnitedHealth Group can lose out on raises or bonuses if they have low keyboard activity. Some radiologists have scoreboards on their computer screens that compare their “inactivity” time with that of colleagues. In New York, the transit system has tAold some employees that they can work remotely one day a week if they agree to full-time monitoring.
A
The trend began before the pandemic, and the rise of at-home white-collar work over the past two years has intensified it. “If we’re going to give up on bringing people back to the office, we’re not going to give up on managing productivity,” said Paul Wartenberg, who installs monitoring systems for companies.

But even many in-person jobs now include productivity tabulations. One section of Jodi and Arya’s story describes the frustration of hospice chaplains who receive “productivity points” based partly on how many terminally ill patients they saw in a day.

“This is going to sound terrible,” one chaplain said, “but every now and again I would do what I thought of as ‘spiritual care drive-bys’” to rack up points. If a patient was sleeping, “I could just talk to the nurse and say, ‘Are there any concerns?’ It counted as a visit because I laid eyes.”







udtiger
US Space Force Fan
Over your left shoulder
Member since Nov 2006
89006 posts
 Online 

It's nice to be your own boss.


GreatLakesTiger24
Member since May 2012
49206 posts
 Online 

quote:

In lower-paying jobs, the monitoring is already ubiquitous: not just at Amazon, where the second-by-second measurements became notorious, but also for Kroger cashiers, UPS drivers and millions of others.



when i worked at a grocery store in high school, they made cashiers wait until the customer put all of their items on the belt before starting to scan because the timer started when the fist item was scanned and they didn't want the clock to be ticking while the cashier is waiting for more items to scan. typically i side with the business and think they know what they are doing... but sometimes their policies are pretty counter-productive.


JonTigerFan11
Member since May 2016
829 posts

They are doing it for withholding purposes. Work from home is a tax withholding nightmare for companies.


GeauxxxTigers23
USA Fan
TeamBunt General Manager
Member since Apr 2013
58829 posts

Guess those middle management types that all the work from homers hate aren’t really going away.


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112
SECSolomonGrundy
Slaughter Swamp
Member since Jun 2012
13390 posts
 Online 

quote:

It's nice to be your own boss.



It sure is. That's why they are sending the IRS after us.


udtiger
US Space Force Fan
Over your left shoulder
Member since Nov 2006
89006 posts
 Online 

quote:

It sure is. That's why they are sending the IRS after us.


Yep


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61
LSUtigerME
LSU Fan
Walker, LA
Member since Oct 2012
3381 posts

We may need to work on that definition of “Productivity”. Time on Tools for remote workers (or many non-remote jobs) is not necessarily a good measure of productivity.

I always hated when we did ToTs surveys on the field crafts. Metrics like these lead to very poor habits that simply give the appearance of “productivity”.


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121
Jcorye1
Detroit Mercy Fan
Tom Brady = GoAT
Member since Dec 2007
65945 posts

quote:

typically i side with the business and think they know what they are doing... but sometimes their policies are pretty counter-productive.


We are in this weird form of market economy where investors are demanding short term profits over all else. Most corporations couldn't give a shite less about the consumer's long term view of their brand, and would rather have you buy 5 widgets this month than 200 widgets over the next 3 years.


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190
Jcorye1
Detroit Mercy Fan
Tom Brady = GoAT
Member since Dec 2007
65945 posts

quote:

They are doing it for withholding purposes. Work from home is a tax withholding nightmare for companies.



Most places I've seen don't care unless you're gone for a month or more, and even then almost practice a don't ask don't tell policy.

I'm interested to see when the state governments get frustrated and start tracking this stuff, but I'm not sure how they could even know.


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ell_13
US Space Force Fan
Member since Apr 2013
79863 posts

This is so dumb. I work from home. I take my calls through my phone’s Teams or Webex app so I get to use the WiFi connection for audio as my cell signal is horrible and I lose connection when the program calls me. Who cares if I’m not on my PC if my work is satisfactory?
This post was edited on 8/15 at 8:07 am


Eurocat
Northwestern Fan
Member since Apr 2004
13432 posts

Many companies apparently do care.


bad93ex
US Navy Fan
Member since Sep 2018
16505 posts

quote:

Teams


The sound of an incoming Teams call gives me nightmares. My previous team had several people who decided that nothing could be discussed via IM but rather a phone call.


ForeverEllisHugh
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2016
11934 posts

Yeah frick all that.

Just pursue your passions and hobbies - life’s to short for this kind of big brother bull shite.


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100
BestBanker
USA Fan
Member since Nov 2011
16355 posts

Here's a novel idea:

Stop work at home.

Then we can go back to long bathroom breaks. While we're at it, bring back newspapers! Hard to track.


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100
RogerTheShrubber
LSU Fan
Juneau, AK
Member since Jan 2009
217640 posts

quote:

It's nice to be your own boss.



It sure is. That's why they are sending the IRS after us.


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teke184
LSU Fan
Zachary, LA
Member since Jan 2007
79575 posts

As a general rule, whatever you decide is a metric becomes changed once you start using it, meaning it often isn’t useful for its original intent anymore.


I’d be less concerned about inactivity than I would be about the larger scale picture of getting work complete and having it done right.

Not every job is a constant grind but, itself, requires thinking through problems and coming up with solutions which are appropriate and can be accomplished with a minimum of disruption.


As Miracle Max would say, “You rush a miracle man, you get lousy miracles.”


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LewDawg
Georgia Fan
Member since May 2009
73389 posts

So putting myself in a solo Teams meeting and playing video games isn’t recommended? Damn.


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ell_13
US Space Force Fan
Member since Apr 2013
79863 posts

Companies that care about a metric rather than the work itself are setting themselves up for an unhappy, high-turnover workforce.


teke184
LSU Fan
Zachary, LA
Member since Jan 2007
79575 posts

My guess is that a lot of those companies see their workers as replaceable drones rather than people who bring value.

Not a good plan in the current job market.


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