EconomyDigital Productivity Measurement or Big Brother 3.0?

Digital Productivity Measurement or Big Brother 3.0?

(Expansion) – According to the PEW Research Institute, the last two years have brought about the greatest transformation in the way of doing business in the last 70 years. The changes have touched all aspects of the business world; from those focused on productivity or finance to those of Human Resources or the design of the offices.

The fact that a social change creates a trend is not new. Already in the 1980s, the massive use of new technologies gave birth to Chief Information Officers, and in the 1990s, the large-scale irruption of political and business figures into the world of technology turned public relations specialists into the omnipresent today. Chief of Staff. So it should come as no surprise that today it is increasingly common to find job titles that were unthinkable until recently, such as Dynamic Work Manager, Director of Remote Work, or Vice President of Flexible Work.

I consider it important to analyze the background of origin of these new organizations. According to a study focused on Generation Z (those born between 2000 and 2010) conducted by Stanford University, this age group views work and the workplace fundamentally differently compared to other generations. For most of these young people, who by the way have grown up in a world connected to the Internet and exposed to collaborative platforms such as Wikipedia, work is not necessarily defined as an activity with a strict schedule or that must be carried out in a specific and immovable place. .

Thus, today those of us who have a team are witnesses of how we have had to adapt to the new times, starting by finding ways to work under a hybrid mix (face-to-face and remote) and expanding our responsibilities, adding to those implicit in the business , that of creating moments of remote connection that maintain creativity and productivity in the team.

Although productivity monitoring has been sought after since the industrial revolution, in my opinion what is truly disruptive is the digital monitoring tools that have emerged lately.

Tools like WorkSmart, Time Doctor or UpWork offer tools that allow companies like the United States to monitor their employees by measuring the time they spend on calls or writing emails.

The impact of this digital measurement of productivity is expanding to middle and senior managers, whether you work remotely or on-site, and to industries as diverse as medical, where today medical teams record their inactivity and assume it, rightly or wrongly. , which is time that was not worked by any of the doctors.

From my point of view, the pandemic, the home office and -it must be recognized- the fear of many directors that their team will not work if it is not “monitored”, have highlighted the need to monitor productivity more efficiently; however, this search has gone so far as to create a kind of Big Brother 3.0 where by placing software on work equipment that practically second by second records the time that an employee is dedicated to specific tasks of his work and how much time he spends in other unrelated

Some companies defend this trend saying that Human Resources has transformed from being an area whose performance was measured with subjective metrics, to one more area of data-based performance analysis. In fact, a recent report from consulting firm Deloitte declared that the era of the Personal Data Revolution had finally arrived.

Like all changes, conflicts have not been long in coming. Big companies like Amazon, famous for generating and handling data, have backed off or at least made more discreet their digital productivity measurement standards in light of employee-driven union efforts in some US states.

The problem is that in most countries labor legislation was written long before we could even imagine these measuring devices, so there is no regulatory framework that protects individual privacy and, even if the legislation was up to date , the measurement parameters are misleading because on a day-to-day basis there are many tasks that are carried out without necessarily occupying our work devices: simple and omnipresent activities such as taking notes, searching for information, consulting others with any questions, etc.

What is a fact is that this Big Brother 3.0 is here to stay. Will it tune up? Yes, but it won’t go away. Not surprisingly, funding for startups dedicated to the Performance Management category has grown 800% in the last three years.

Editor’s note: José Alberto Parra García is Director of Digital Strategy for the USA and LATAM at Grupo Planeta; Previously, he was part of the teams at Storytel, Apple and Amazon, leading platforms in digital entertainment. He has been a professor at the Universidad Anáhuac and ITESM and is a graduate of the IE Business School from the Master in Positive Psychology, Leadership and Strategy program. He runs the podcast. Follow him on and on @pepeparragarcia. The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.

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