- Microsoft Corp. and Boston Consulting Group are among companies that are tracking employees’ face-to-face interactions, emails and chat logs, writes the Wall Street Journal.
- Through electronic tracking, employers hope to cut down on formal meetings, emails and other time-wasters and increase team-based interaction and productivity.
- The Journal says BCG Consulting conducted a tracking experiment with 20% of its New York-based employees before relocating its offices. The results showed that employees spent too much time with either their bosses or direct reports instead of interacting more with team members. The company decided to reconfigure the new office space to foster more team interaction.
This story is a strong example of the potentials of workplace technology and the new heights engagement tech can reach. But it is easy for this tech to come off as creepy if not implemented in a company culture that is ready for such changes. Trust is key for something like this to work.
BCG interpreted the tracking data as coinciding with the current trend in office design, which is partition-free workspaces and open areas for informal meetings. But as one informal study found, employees who spend much of their work time involved in intense problem-solving need workspaces that are quiet and free of distractions. Open-office spaces could have a similar adverse effect on training. Before employers decide to reconfigure their offices into new-wave workspaces, they might reserve some closed-in areas for intense work assignments.