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Slacking off at Work? The Bosses Can Now Track Your Every Move

Researchers used fitness trackers, smartphones and a custom app to measure employee performance at the workplace.

Updated
Tech News
3 min read
A research team in the US has developed a system to measure a worker’s performance using a fitness band, a smartphone and an app.
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Currently, there is no established system to measure the performance of an employee apart from self-assessment forms and interviews. This created a big problem for employers to separate the high performers from the lower ones.

However, researchers at Dartmouth College have come up with a mobile sensing system to measure the performance of workers with the help of a fitness band, a smartphone and a custom app.

All of this may sound a bit primitive, but researchers say that the system is able to ascertain the results with 80 percent accuracy.

TLDR? Listen to the story here:

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How It Works?

The researchers use a smartphone to track the physical activity, location, phone usage, and ambient light while the fitness tracker monitors sleep, heart rate, stress and body measurements like weight and calorie consumption.

How the performance tracking via this system works.
How the performance tracking via this system works.
(Photo: Dartmouth College)

The whole data is compiled and sent to a cloud-based central server where a computer analyses the data and classifies users based on the analysis.

The study has found that higher performers had lower rates of phones usage and longer periods of deep sleep and were also more physically active.

The Objective

The objective of this research is to give both the employer and employee an insight into physical, emotional and behavioural well-being. As per the research team, this is the first time that such a system has been used to measure the performance of employees in an ecosystem.

This experiment was conducted on 750 employees across the US over a period of one year.

This is a radically new approach to evaluating workplace performance using passive sensing data from phones and wearables.
Andrew Campbell, Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth.

The researchers argue that this method provides a more objective approach towards measuring an individual’s performance rather than self-assessment and interviews.

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Some Concerns Raised

Although this system is something many are looking forward to, it does have its own problems. Like the fact that labour advocates and privacy experts have raised issues regarding such a system to measure performance.

Considering there is a lot of hardware and data analysis at work here, this system would be an expensive one to set up which is why it is not feasible for many companies.

There could also be times when the hardware — fitness band for example — might malfunction. This would result in a lot of false data being analysed by the AI-driven computers.

Therefore, there is a lot of ambiguity around whether this is the right way to measure an employee’s performance. Yes, it is a step forward into ascertaining objective results, but still not thorough.

In the meantime, the researchers suggest that this system of continuous monitoring and assessment via gizmos is not yet available for commercial use. It will be coming out in the next few years.

There has been no word on whether it will partner with any particular OEM for fitness tracking bands or sensors nor how the interface of the app will be like.

So till that time, keep filling those self-assessment forms.

— with inputs from Tech Crunch

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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