Every morning, going to work, warehouseWorker Jack Westley puts on a belt with a black device the size of a smartphone. It tracks his every move and transmits data about it to the employer. And this is not the beginning of a fantastic story in which the "big brother" is watching us. This is real life, because such devices are already being used at Walmart facilities. Manufacturers note that such trackers can improve the security system and reduce the number of injuries. But not everything is so simple.
Why keep an eye on the workers?
Device created by StrongArm startupTechnologies (and also known as StrongArm) collects and sends information about work and labor productivity to employers. The creators of the gadget say that trackers can complement existing safety programs by identifying employees who need additional training, and devices help find places that need to be converted to reduce the likelihood of injuries and improve productivity.
The principle of the StrongArm device is prettysimple - it captures the performance of muscles and how efficiently they work by reading electrical impulses. In a series of tests at various sites, StrongArm revealed, for example, that in one warehouse there was a place where workers often turned their backs too hard. The employees there stood next to the conveyor belt, watching the movement of objects and sending them further along the tape, which was bent 90 degrees. StrongArm software advised changing the angle of the tape by 45 degrees. Injuries became much less.
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In another test, StrongArm had to studyhigh fatigue rates among temporary workers. During preliminary conversations, warehouse managers seemed to suspect that the workers were simply lazy. However, the StrongArm system found that they overexert by dragging boxes 4 times faster than regular staff to finish work faster. This made it possible to carry out a large amount of work in the short term, but if additional efforts were needed, the employees simply did not have the stamina. As a result, the wage system was revised, which would not make people rush. Now StrongArm is used by more than 30 companies, including Heineken NV and Toyota.
Unions, however, fear that employerswho begin to collect data about employees will be able to use this data against them. First of all, they are sure that workers can be fired or punished if their productivity decreases. However, the opacity of data analysis tools can make it difficult to understand why this is exactly what happened. What do you think? Is this progress or an additional element of surveillance? Write about it in our chat in Telegram.
The creators of StrongArm declare thatThe products are designed solely to increase safety and performance. The company also claims that the device does not track individual performance, and that all data is received by employers in anonymous form.