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According to a survey by office supplies company Vikings, the average employee spends 52 minutes a day procrastinating. Another study by BambooHR pointed out the distraction which takes up the most time on the clock is taking breaks in the office kitchen, at the water cooler or in the break room.
While it is not possible to ban staff from leaving their desks, one employer has found a way to keep track of where they are by installing motion sensors under employee desks.
An employee at HR software provider ADP Canada’s Dartmouth office told The Chronicle Herald that an oval-shaped object was spotted under the desk, and it was later found to be a motion sensor. He was concerned with the company trying to spy on workers.
The company’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Williams admitted installing motion sensors at all of ADP’s Canadian offices and some locations abroad, but said the sensors were only there to study space usage of desks, conference rooms and other work areas.
But employees are not convinced. “They’re going to know if I go pee,” said an employee, who did not wish to be identified.
He added the sensors made the employees wonder about job security and that they created barriers between management and staff.
“It’s almost like they track (your) time at your desk and they could link that to pay,” said the employee.
Brushing off allegations of spying, Williams said some ADP employees worked from home or were on flexible time hours. “It’s not about an individual at a desk. It’s about space planning,” she said.
She said employees were first informed of the installation of motion sensors on 18 October and the sensors would only be installed temporarily for six weeks.
According to Williams, the sensors themselves use third-party software and cannot record people’s conversations, for example.
“All they sense is motion,” she said.