- Three Square Market, a Wisconsin micro-market firm, is offering its workers voluntary microchip implants, USA Today reports. Implanted between the thumb and forefinger, the "rice-sized" chips let workers scan their way around the workplace.
- In a company statement, CEO Todd Westby said the chips will be used primarily to enter the company's building, open doors, purchase items, log on to computers, unlock phones, use office equipment, store medical information and share business cards.
- Three Square Market is partnering with BioHax International, a Swedish company whose employees already have chips. The chips are not mandatory and do not utilize GPS technology, according to USA Today.
Westby isn't the only one to predict implanted microchips as an emerging tech trend; Dangerous Things, a Swedish tech firm, made headlines when it announced the development of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip implants. In a report from Tech Republic, one self-proclaimed "biohacker" was quoted as saying the chips were not a privacy concern.
But technology requires trust, if nothing else, to gain widespread adoption in the workplace. In an age of increased surveillance — real or perceived — employees might fear that implanted microchips are a high-tech way of tracking their whereabouts. That's already the concern, especially among younger workers, with Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that gather sensitive data.
Companies that plan to offer chips might not get the employee buy-in for the idea that they expected. Employers might want to consider, among other things, whether the number of participating employees will be worth the cost of the implants, how much of a concern the implants' invasiveness and safety will be and what legal steps could be involved in deactivating the chip for a departing worker.