Friday, March 8, 2013

Can Telecommuting Work?

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV's "Protecting Your Cyberturf" segment, featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.
It’s been a big buzz in the headlines - Yahoo and BestBuy announce their employees must come back to the office.  It makes you wonder what is behind this trend.  Well, we did some research and found that there might be more to it than meets the eye.  Companies are turning to technology to monitor their employee whereabouts and productivity.  This could be beneficial but is that data collected about you really safe and what about your privacy?  Or should you assume none in the workplace?  

One large company wanted to see if in person, face-to-face time vs. working at home mattered so they had their employees wear badges that had tiny sensors installed.  The sensors recorded their movements AND the tone of their conversations.  WBTV’s cyber expert, Theresa Payton, is with us tonight to help us understand how companies are using this technology and what you need to know to protect your security and privacy.  

By the way, that large company that did the tracking?  They said the sensor study proved to them that their employee productivity went up in the office vs. working at home.  It improved by 10%, and the workers were happier when they were at the office (according to the sensors).

Companies are using tracking devices that gather real time information on how teams work together, interact and how productive they are.  For companies on the leading edge of this trend, they have show that the most productive teams are close knit and speak frequently - in person.

Where the sensors may hide at work:
1.  worn on your badge
2.  in your office furniture such as a chair or a desk so it knows when you “leave”
3.  integration of email traffic matched with recent company news
4.  on doorways to the building, offices, break rooms, and conference rooms

What can they tell?
1.  your overall voice tone
2.  engagement in the current meeting that you are attending
3.  one company that does this work says they can tell if an employee is likely to leave a company based on their behavior patterns on the sensors
4.  sensors in meeting rooms that know when your badge enters / leaves the room

What should employers do?

1.  Don’t be creepy about it - tell your employees you are deploying the sensors and why
2.  Before you embark on a plan to collect and analyze this data, think first about how you will protect individual privacy and security of the data

Word of the week:
Freshness factor
Ever been to a site with stale data?  Yuck!  Freshness factor is a measurement of how fresh your site is based on updates and how often people visit your site.  You calculate it by how many times you update your site divided by the average number of people that visit your site.  You are considered a high fresh factor is you score a 1.5 or more!

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