Businesses Going Into “All Surveillance All the Time” Mode in Pursuit of More Productivity

The Financial Times tell us gives us another sighting in the all-too-familiar general story of “the Brave New World is here, and then some.”

Employers are engaged in a new Taylorism, of monitoring employee behaviors to find ways to make them more productive. But the original Taylorism took the form of time and motion studies in manufacturing settings, where the objective was to re-engineer activity at the individual worker level and across the production process to improve throughput.

The newest iteration is companies that engage in behavioral surveillance, ostensively to improve employee/customer relations and to screen new hires better.

The first half of the article is a series of success stories from consultants in the so-called “Quantified Workplace movement” (ponder that branding for a second: “movement” makes it sound like a popular groundswell, as opposed to the more accurate: “data scientists target HR departments, which have difficulty explaining what if any value they add beyond creating policy manuals and training sessions to reduce litigation risk.”). The vendors have too-cute names like Evolv and are up-front that more intrusion is better. For instance, co-founder and CEO Max Simkoff states: “Every week we figure out more things to track.” He also claims he can improve productivity by a minimum of 5% in at least 2/3 of his “jobs.” Evolv is initially focusing on the foot soldiers of the service economy, specifically “customer facing” activities such as retail and call centers.

Needless to say, the sort of case studies served up to the media are ones that look inoffensive or even helpful to the now-even-more-intensively-scrutinized workers. It’s one thing to know your company can read all your e-mails and track all your phone calls and web site visits. That falls in the category of “it’s now easier than ever for them to fire you even if it’s pretty clearly discrimination (say you got pregnant or over 60 but they can probably find some behaviors that lots of other workers engage in but they can claim merited dismissal). But now they are starting to get serious about mining all this stuff (and more!) to identify winners and losers in advance. The temp service Kelly claims to have achieved a 7% increase in efficiency (how determined, since Kelly is not the end employer?) after they had Evolv advise on their hiring policies.


Novo1, a US company that runs customer call centres and has more than 2,000 employees, identified the characteristics of its most successful call operators and hired more people like them. This cut job interviews down to 12 minutes from an hour, reduced average call time by a minute and slashed attrition by 39 per cent.

Another pioneering outfit is Sociometric Solutions, which puts sensors in name badges to discover social dynamics at work. The badges monitor how employees move around the workplace, who they talk to and in what tone of voice.

One client, Bank of America, discovered that its more productive workers were those allowed to take their breaks together, in which they let off steam and shared tips about dealing with frustrated customers.

The bank took heed and switched to collective breaks, after which performance improved 23 per cent and the amount of stress in workers’ voices fell 19 per cent.

See? Isn’t that lovely? All that listening to employee conversations led Bank of America to let workers hang out together on breaks! What a win-win!

Equipment makers Steelcase salivates at the prospect of turning furniture and buildings into listening posts….even boardrooms. I am pretty sure that the executive classes will recoil at the prospect of being watched just like the peons (and more important, outside counsel will kibosh that, since no one will want records that might conflict with official board minutes).

The story does include some cautionary notes:

Teresa Amabile, a professor and director of research at Harvard Business School, says it could be “very positive” or “very negative” depending on the existing workplace culture.

Monitoring can work if the teams, departments or whole offices using the software or devices have what she calls “a high degree of psychological safety”.

If people feel able to experiment, potentially fail and learn from those lessons, then they can be motivated by gaining a better understanding of how they spend their days.

But she warned that the technology was still in its early days and could be “too crude” an instrument to rely on. “There is definitely a danger of seeing technology as a silver bullet,” she says…

Even those who are involved in the growing industry believe there needs to be more discussion about when and how the data are used. Professor Andrew Knight from Washington University in St Louis works with data from both Evolv and Sociometric Solutions to study workplace behaviour.

But he thinks constant monitoring is a “scary image for the future” that could “remove some of the authenticity of those [workplace] relationships”.

These comments show a remarkable lack of imagination. For instance, one thing that Evolv monitors is how long it takes employees to commute to the office. You can easily see this justifying discrimination against people who live in certain neighborhoods (income or worse, de facto racial profiling) or people who have kids (as in have a longer commute by virtue of sometimes or often dropping children off on their way to work).

Similarly, a well-known productivity-killer is divorce, particularly acrimonious divorce. How about being a single mother? That’s stressful too and can be identified lots of ways: content of messages, phone call patterns. Or just having a dual income family with toddlers or young elementary school children, or children with disabilities will similarly have high odds of showing higher-than-normal extracurricular phone calls and stress levels. And do you think employers will devise benign outcomes for these overtaxed laborers, like more counseling or child care? If so, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

You can easily imagine surveillance using “stress in your voice” and “changes in your relationships with your peers” to justify firing people who are caring for aged parents, or having an affair, or advocating unionization.

And one also has to wonder whether these increases in productivity come with hidden costs. In the early days of consultants who advised on expense reduction and took a percentage of the savings, a widely-touted success story of ex-McKinseyite Chandrika Tandon advising Chase helped put the industry on the map. What was not widely reported, however, was that a couple of years later, Chase reversed a significant number of Tandon’s cost saving measures (and remember, she collected hard dollars for them) because they found she had cut meat out along with the fat. I suspect savvy readers can come up with other naive uses of this technology that can backfire, as well as potential abuses. But I’d really like any reader sightings as far as what the failures and mixed results from these studies look like.

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  1. j gibbs

    My reactions to this:

    1. This company monitoring customer call centers is located in America? All the call centers are in Manila.

    2. Orwell was an optimist.

    3. Jobs are clearly not the answer liberals pretend they are.

    4. F Beard is right. We need restitution for theft. Also free health care for all, a single tax on land, dissolution of the Fed and incarceration for anyone caught wearing a $5,000 suit or a $500 tie.

    1. fajensen

      At least within Aldous Huxley’s “brave new world”, we could get drugs and be born with reduced consciousness to not be bothered too much!

    2. Lambert Strether

      Ugh. Reading a hideously dystopian post like this makes me a lot more sympathetic to your point (3)*.

      To your short list of incarceration-worthy social evils, I would add the practice, or knowledge, of golf.

      NOTE * Though I’d point out that jobs are a solution to a lot of things, like having money to pay the bills. I don’t think that’s a distinctively liberal position (unless you mean a classic liberal).

      1. j gibbs

        Played in the right spirit (and always afoot) golf is a marvelous antidote to contemporary life. It has kept me more or less sane for almost sixty years. Avoid country clubs at all cost. Public courses are better, even when the courses are goat tracks and the rounds take seven hours.

      2. jrs

        Well I am in the pretty darn skeptical of what kind of jobs the government would create at present EVEN IF it was interested in anything that sounded like a new WPA (which it clearly isn’t right now). This is the government that gave us Obamacare. The is a government that in every way, shape and form works for the large corporations (even if it ocassionally still throws a few increasingly meager bones to the people and oh boy are they meager). It’s obvious in it’s foreign policy and what type of world it aims to create with it. It’s obvious in the trade agreements it pushes. It’s obvious in the money flow, in the revolving doors, etc..

        So would it really DARE create jobs better than those in the private sector and offering real competition to it in the labor market (and private sector jobs grow worse everyday – see above), and it may well create worse (race to the bottom). Jobs provide subsistence and there is no doubt the lack of jobs is used currently to lower wages, benefits fetc.for those who did have jobs. But job quality matters. The quality of the jobs is a huge part of the quality of life!

        Now if the 99% had REAL REPRESENTATION, represented a real threat, had any real power, were really worth appeasing. THEN we might get a government that did that ala the New Deal. But we don’t. I’d say build that first, but I have as little clue where to start as anyone.

        1. jrs

          Of course this also reminds me of the existing policies being implement at Federal jobs. See we don’t need to speculate as the future is now. About all the spying on your coworkers that you are supposed to do for Federal jobs, see something say something all the time. That’s the low tech version. It’s allegedly needed to prevent another Snowden and yes obviously not all government jobs are the NSA, some are just lowly social workers or even janitors, but I believe the policy was supposed to be pervasive. This is the type of jobs the Fed gov is already turning their jobs into. They aren’t better than the private sector, they don’t mean to offer a BETTER alternative.

      1. Spring Texan

        I worked in a call center once (for five weeks, half of the people hired with me quit before I did). People were monitored on like 30 objectives DAILY (with many conflicting with other objectives). I saw a grown man who had worked there a long time jump up and down with joy because his new work location was nearer the restroom (because every second you spent away from the phones was timed).

        It’s the only job I have ever had where I felt death would be preferable.

        1. Spring Texan

          One of the pathetic things I also observed is that because it was a computer support center so the calls were complex, some people still wanted the job precisely because they were very bright, had other jobs such as working in a 7-11, but so badly wanted a job where they could use their brains that they still wanted this job despite its slave-like conditions.

      2. sleepy

        I have recently done some interview work with the Census. While data is entered on a laptop, the interviews themselves are vocally recorded from start to finish. Though the interviewee has the right to opt out of that recording, very few do for some reason.

        We are assured of course that the recording is not used for any labor management reason, just to improve the wording of the questions asked.

    3. Ulysses

      Our corporate overlords have clearly adopted Orwell, Kafka, and Huxley as useful guides to forming a lasting dystopia. Yet all three seem to have been optimists, given the unfathomable depths– of dehumanizing destruction of the human soul– to which these parasitical monsters are prepared to sink.

      1. TimR

        They view the population as livestock. Yves’ post disappoints me actually, in that she’s able to solicit “good” and “bad” uses of this technology, instead of rejecting it out of hand as inimical to human freedom and dignity. This is like being confronted with the Holocaust (or pick your favorite crime against humanity example) and then criticizing the implementation. Maybe that sounds hyperbolic to some, but things are rapidly turning dystopian. People should threaten to quit en masse wherever these technologies are introduced; if we don’t draw the line somewhere, “they” are going to keep pushing until it’s beyond the point of no return. Somehow too many people just want to believe the flimsy rationales, that this is all about “efficiency” and “productivity.”

  2. sadness

    well i know nothing, but i do have time to frequently make use of a famous social media site owned by a most famous tracker of clicks….so you’d think that they would tailor the ads they fed me to best suit my desires, but no, in fact they are so far off that if i were advertising with them i’d be asking for my money back….
    so, and also pertaining to the last para in the story….i suppose it would seem to all depend on who’s writing the code….as we all love to be tracked….at least someone out there cares

  3. Katniss Everdeen

    Sounds an awful lot like the classic technological problem–too many solutions and too few problems.

    “Ben Waber, Sociometric Solutions co-founder and chief executive, thinks the badges can be deployed far beyond sales and customer service. He sees big opportunities in pharmaceuticals, for instance….”

    Is there anyone who DOESN’T see “big opportunities” in pharmaceuticals? I’d imagine an analysis of the “data” would show that the amount of startup money available is directly related to the number of possible applications, however ephemeral, to “pharmaceuticals.”

      1. Antifa

        Our company doesn’t allow workers to walk off to the bathroom. Catheters keep them at their desks, plus it eliminated our drug testing department because we test non-stop, automatically. And we even put in little bells at each workstation that go off if the worker’s caffeine level drops below optimum levels.

        Orwell, Kafka, and Huxley? Never heard of ’em. Our inspiration is Smithfield Farms, where the hogs are crowded so close together they can’t even lay down. But boy do they bring home the bacon.

  4. ambrit

    These “badges” will be combined with some algorithm to match the badge results with in house CCTV tracking. Knowing who the worker is talking to while “stressed” will help management optimize the “customer experience,” and maximize “shareholder value” too! One obvious way to maximize “shareholder value,” (and corporate bonus value too, thank you very much,) is to churn the workforce while shedding worker benefits and lowering new hire pay levels. One glaringly obvious way to limit this trend is to return to the days of 35% capital gains taxes. Hit them where it hurts, in their wallets. (Oh, and while we’re hallucinating a bit, why not a 10% surtax on incomes above, oh, say, $250,000 USD a year to pay for the wars we’re bogged down in, or, more realistically, losing?)
    This will work as long as there is a surplus of semi skilled labour. How it will work out in fields with tight labour conditions is any ones guess. One factor to keep in mind is, sheer cussedness. Many of the people I’ve worked with during my life have had an effective response to obvious micro management; Obstructionism. things mysteriously “disappear,” or “break,” or “stop working suddenly.” Then, the response is, um, slow. “D—! I left my muffler bearing alignment tool at home! Who could have guessed that the fibble bush harvester would degrade its’ performance so precipitously? Those poor starving hamsters!”
    The point is that maximization of effort and outcomes, if real and not notional, depends on genuine support of the desired outcome by the entire workforce. This usually falls under the definition of Politics, and not Technology. It doesn’t matter how many “tools” a management has at its’ disposal. If it doesn’t know how to deal with real people, it is doomed to fail.

    1. optimader

      “falls under the definition of Politics, and not Technology. It doesn’t matter how many “tools” a management has at its’ disposal.If it doesn’t know how to deal with real people, it is doomed to fail.”

      File Under:
      Crashed w/ a dead ear to politics under the weight of the best technology money could buy… human nature, different circumstance.

    2. Yalt

      “why not a 10% surtax on incomes above, oh, say, $250,000 USD a year?”

      10%? How about we go back to the marginal rates in place under that great liberal Dwight Eisenhower and let them keep 10%?

      1. ambrit

        Dear yalt;
        Eisenhower was paying off the WW2 war bonds with those taxes, plus a lot of other stuff. We have our own wars to pay for. Your point about the inadequacy of my suggested percentage is well taken.

  5. Jagger

    A normal human being needs privacy in their lifes. All this constant observation and monitoring everywhere and everytime, this invasion of privacy, is beginning to sound like being in prison 24 hours a day. It is inhuman and cannot be healthy for the sanity of a basic, normal human being.
    There is an urgent need for a societal definition of a human right to privacy with legal protection and real penalties to make violations not worth the cost.
    Of course, solutions are time a dozen. Implementation is the problem when the powers that be benefit from the existing system.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Evolv 2.0 will involve monitoring the effects of all the monitoring. On “productivity,” of course.

      It’s the technological equivalent of digging a hole and then filling it up.

      I hope all those sensors don’t interfere with each other. You know, like that interference you get sometimes when you step to a microphone. It could skew the “data.” All those people continually asking, “What’s that noise?” might have an adverse impact on “productivity.”

        1. Yalt

          Every company I’ve ever worked for, save one, considered managerial control a higher priority than productivity. (No, to be precise, the managers I worked for in those companies considered it a higher priority. The companies themselves are not conscious beings and aren’t capable of setting priorities.)

          The one exception was my very first job; I was working for the mob.

          Go figure.

  6. Jeremy Grimm

    I like the furniture with microphones idea. That sounds like something that would be useful for workers. They could make the feature a special secret bonus add-in for all executive furniture.

  7. Knut

    This whole business reminds me of a quip that Bertrand Russell made in response to an earnest question about the possibikity of technological unemployment, with robots doing all the work and all that. Bertrand said he thought it was highly unlikely, because there would always have to be someone around to supervise the robots, people to counsel supervisors, and people to counsel the counsellors and so on ad infinitum. This seems to be the trajectory of the US economy. We are running out of jobs for Indians, but the jobs for chiefs, sub-chiefs and sub-sub chiefs just keep on growing.

    1. F. Beard

      but the jobs for chiefs, sub-chiefs and sub-sub chiefs just keep on growing.

      No it isn’t otherwise LR Wray and Co. would not be about inventing make-work for the unemployed.

      Nice try at whitewash though.

  8. DolleyMadison

    Someone here quoted Mark Twain as saying the only thing worse than murdering a man is hiring him. I think that about sums it up.

  9. Roquentin

    While the surveillance is troubling, I don’t really think that’s the key issue here. Anyone who has read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish knows that it has been a cornerstone of the modern world. Much more than Orwell, Foucault was the one who nailed down this dynamic.

    Anyhow, what seems to be the bigger underlying issue is that the neoliberal, lassiez-faire types want all employment to be “at will.” In this system everyone is hired and fired at the drop of a hat, for whatever reasons they see fit in order to maximize the profit they can extract from workers. The problem is, humans don’t do so well with this model and have a whole host of life events they go through which do not fit here in the least, and that’s long before you start tossing in things like class differences and race. Getting pregnant, being diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer, having a major personal life event like divorce as mentioned in the article, etc are all things the hire easy, fire easy model just doesn’t account for.

    You could even frame the debate over Social Security under this heading. The neoliberal model couldn’t care less what happens to you once you are too old to work and can no longer generate profits for other people. It doesn’t care if you live out your last days eating cat food, or if you even live them out at all.

    1. Dan Kervick

      Yes, I see these kinds of developments as a by-product of the hideously weak bargaining position of labor in contemporary society. If everyone had a job, then employers would have to compete extremely aggressively for workers, and work conditions would improve. With fuller employment we could also go back to pushing for a shorter work-week

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Of course that’s true.

        The Fed, in service of its mandate to maintain “full-employment,” defines “full-employment” as an unemployment rate of 5%!!

        For cryin’ out loud, we’re almost there. “Hideously weak bargaining position” is the goal.

        1. MikeNY

          And, with its sacred mandate of price stability (which apparently has nothing to do with plutocrat assets), I’m betting the moment there’s a whiff of wage inflation, they’ll be ALL about tightening, so as not to as not to displease Moloch — erm, Mammon — I mean, so as “not to lose the confidence of the market”.

      2. TimR

        It would help if the corporate rabble could imagine other values in life besides money & status, then perhaps they would have some leverage to quit when their employers step over a line.
        It would also be nice if we the rabble in general, could revise our ideas of what merits status and respect — if we could elevate Veblen’s “instinct of workmanship” above the worship of those who get rich through domination and “business” dealings. You have a fortune — that’s fine. Did you BUILD something, build a company, build a bridge, design something that improves peoples’ lives; or did you TAKE what others made, by any means necessary?

    2. just_kate

      this is the reason why people who used to hold Jack Welch’s management principles in such high regard drove me crazy. they never seemed to think about the fact that life happens over the course of time, (subjective) work performance is judged in a bubble and people doing the work are entirely disposable from one quarter to the next – which is a horrible environment to work in.

  10. F. Beard

    It ain’t called debt-SLAVERY for nothing.

    “You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess. Deuteronomy 23:19-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    Because the idea was to subjugate foreigners and persuade them that conversion to worshiping the Lord had financial benefits?

    So then, why do we allow a government-backed credit cartel to subjugate us? Cause we’re Biblically ignorant?

    1. diptherio

      It would be a lot easier to agree with you if practically every single point you made weren’t based on an argument from authority. I appreciate that YOU think the Bible is a valid source of truth, but you should appreciate that most of US don’t share your opinion. See if you can’t make your points without recourse to ancient books, how about? I think it would be good practice for you…and your arguments will find much wider acceptance among non-Christians.

      Backing up your viewpoints with the Bible only works when you are addressing Bible-believers. When you are addressing non-Bible-believers, you need to figure out a different tack to take (or resign yourself to being discounted and mocked). Know you’re audience, dude.

      1. F. Beard

        It would be a lot easier to agree with you if practically every single point you made weren’t based on an argument from authority.

        You could strip away ALL my references to the Bible and I’ve still contributed a lot to the understanding of money and the ethics of its creation and I’ve also contributed a painless way out of this mess similar to Steve Keen’s but arrived at independently.

        I appreciate that YOU think the Bible is a valid source of truth, but you should appreciate that most of US don’t share your opinion.

        And you wish to keep it that way?

        See if you can’t make your points without recourse to ancient books, how about?

        I can and I have but otoh I won’t plagiarize the Bible either.

        I think it would be good practice for you…

        Practice for what? For when I am judged by God? It’s righteousness I should be practicing, not getting along at the expense of integrity.

        and your arguments will find much wider acceptance among non-Christians.

        Your ancestors might disown you over that statement. Also truth has a self-evident quality – to those with ears.

        Backing up your viewpoints with the Bible only works when you are addressing Bible-believers.

        Perhaps you should START believing since the Bible has been correct wrt money and Progressives have been laughably wrong?

        When you are addressing non-Bible-believers, you need to figure out a different tack to take (or resign yourself to being discounted and mocked).

        Mocked by (W)who is the important question. I don’t fear the mockery of humans. Indeed I find it difficult not to mock you guys.

        Know you’re audience, dude.

        Perhaps I know it better than you think since I used to be a unprincipled busy-body

  11. allcoppedout

    This isn’t new – Foucault et al as above. 25 years ago I found myself evaluating a US consultancy firm training pub managers for a big UK brewer. Amongst dross similar to Yves’ expose, they were trained to ask applicants their favourite colour and when they got their first job. These interviews were to be recorded and sent to the consultants. In the scoring, applicants stating ‘red’ and having a paper round at 13 were to be preferred, there being conclusive evidence (too secret to disclose to me) these were certain indicators of honesty and hard work. The landlords got a certificate framed in wood from the British burning of the White House in 1812 (charred pine) and a manual 6 inches thick. Following up 6 months later I found no publicans using the method and manuals in various use as door-stops and to give access to hard-to-reach optics. My evaluation? Well I was broke and they offered me a job. The bar staff voted with their feet to other pubs, not liking the weekly appriasals in the scheme.

  12. Peter Pan

    What’s next? The badge emits an electrical shock to alert the employee that they’re taking too long to complete a task or sounding stressed or whatever. The shocking will continue until productivity is improved.

    1. diptherio

      Badges could be wired into brain-stimulating electrodes. When an employee does something unproductive, zap ’em good. Whenever they do what they’re told, give ’em a little shot of happy. This way, workers’ “well-being” and the company’s productivity goals will be aligned. Who could complain?

      Think I’ll hang out my shingle as a business consultant…

    2. JTFaraday

      Well, as Naomi Klein relates in The Shock Doctrine, in Chicago School run neoliberal coup situations where the CIA was involved, political dissidents were literally tortured using electric shock.

      So, conceivably typing too slow at work could warrant a little reminder. They don’t call it a “cattle prod” for nothing.

      Just remember: “Any job is better than no job.”

  13. Gabriel

    Maybe all the dystopian stuff we’re seeing in corporations is merely what US capitalism looks like – hard-breathing capitalism, i.e, extreme profit-seeking, pushed to the max?

    If that’s true, whacha gonna do about it?

    1. F. Beard

      Deprive it of government-backed credit creation and it’ll be forced to share power and profits.

      But as long as it can steal, a business will be at a comparative disadvantage if it shares.

  14. Gabriel

    True story – Many years ago a former union head became a member of management. Just for fun he suggested at a management meeting that a new pill had been discovered that removed a worker’s need to go to the bath room during work hours.

    The present managers salivated at the prospect. They went on and on in happy anticipation about the benefits to be gained thereby – until our hero told them the truth.

    Has such gullibility, and worse, gone away today?

  15. OMF

    Another perfect example of min-maxing, over-optimising for ever diminishing returns, and passing all the resulting costs onto someone else — in this case the workers.

    This is not innovation, or technological/industrial progress. This is min-maxing and it is the cancer that is killing our economy.

  16. Antifa

    Since no one has mentioned it so far, may I bring up the subject of hours? During my corporate years, the “official” hours were 9 to 5 for salaried employees, people who got paid an annual salary and a bonus around Christmas.

    But the truth is, you had to be at your desk by 7 AM, and if you weren’t still at your desk or in the building at 7 PM, you were considered lazy, not really made of the right stuff, and it was understood and directly hinted to you that your bonus might suffer. You might not get promoted. You might be first on list if layoffs happened. Your dog would die. Horrible things would happen.

    This was the case at investment banks I worked at in NYC, and equally true at investment banks in Southern banking cities. But in both places, the presence of multiple TBTF investment banks meant all the nearby housing went up and up in price. Neighborhood after neighborhood got gentrified and became unaffordable to we humble non-banker types. We all had to move further and further out into the boonies to afford a home, or even to rent one. Our commutes could be two hours each way on a bad day, and not much less on a good day.

    Very little time left for family, or sleep. Or having a human experience of yourself, unless you forced the issue every day. It was just a mad dance for money doled out every two weeks. The life of a salary man.

    I despised every minute of it, goofed off all I could, often took naps during the day, read a lot of good novels, even went on long, meandering walks around the city during the day, yet was always on top of the list when bonus time came, because I knew the ropes. Most everybody did — the truth is, people did what they had to to survive the insane hours, and no one was really interested in what you did to survive just so long as you were there 7 to 7.

    I’ve owned my own business for a decade now, and regularly put in twice the real work I ever did for those greedy 23-year old investment bankers who were always stumbling back from lunch or the bathroom with white nostrils. But I work hard now with complete happiness, because I have a stake in every bit of the work. I grew this thing. It’s mine, it’s me.

    The kind of surveillance becoming the norm now would have really thinned the company ranks. No one can do 84 hours a week for years on end and not snap. Not unless they’re an owner — not one of the cattle.

    1. jrs

      Yea “salaried” shouldn’t exist, if you are an employee, you should get overtime protection period, time and a half after 8 hours – the whole deal. Now it’s true that in a good company to work for “salaried” is actually preferable to “hourly” as they won’t abuse the overtime too much and you’ll get the type of freedom that “hourly” won’t allow, to take or not take lunch and when you feel like it, to go to the doctor etc.. But this entirely depends on the kindness of the business and the bargaining power of labor (fear of you quitting). In short it’s a fools bargain, overtime law should apply to all employees.

  17. reason

    What bugs me is that the productivity performances are so trivial. A once off (non-repeatable) gain of 5-7%. Productivity normally grows at somewhere between 1-3% a year. So all this big brother stuff puts of the crunch for 2 years. Wow?

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