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Employers Now Using Sensors To Track Your Productivity | Co.Design: business + innovation + design

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One anecdote describes how a pharmaceutical company called Cubist asked a group of employees to don iPhone-sized sensors, which recorded things like how often they stood up, their conversational patterns, and where they took breaks. Employees, it should be noted, were allowed to opt-out (though the true cost of doing so was not clear). The data analysis, provided by Sociometric Solutions, ultimately led to changes both in the design of the office and the structure of the workday. WSJ explains:

Cubist discovered a correlation between higher productivity and face-to-face interactions. It found that social activity dropped off significantly during lunch time, as many employees retreated to their desks to check emails, rather than chatting with one another.

In response, the company decided to make its once-dingy cafeteria more inviting, improving the lighting and offering better food, to encourage workers to lunch together, instead of at their desks.

Cubist also scaled back to a lone coffee station and water cooler for the sales and marketing group, forcing employees to huddle and mix. It set a 3 p.m. daily coffee break, both to prop up sagging energy levels and to boost social interactions.

In such studies, Sociometric Solutions and its clients say, workers typically get a report on their group’s overall interactions, with no names attached, though individuals get to see their own data.

I believe face to face interactions lead to productivity.

But there's a fine line between encouraging productivity and being tracked all the time for profit.

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