The Guardian are running an excellent series on the workplace of the future.
These days you can't attend any business, HR or legal conference without the rise of technology and the effect it will have on our daily lives being a major theme. However in order to be ready to adapt the emerging technology to our working lives we need to think about it in advance so we can reduce the potential drawbacks and risks.
The amount of data we are collecting on customers and employees is enormous. Without knowledge on how the technology you are using works, you cannot say that you understand what data you are collecting and why. I am particularly troubled by using health monitors on employees. Is all the data being collected actually required by the employer? Do either the employer or the employee actually fully understand what is being collected and processed? Where is it stored? Who has access to it? When is is destroyed? Is it secure? With data protection progressing to a data protection by design model it will no longer be sufficient to put in technology and shrug your shoulders and say you didn't really understand what it collects and where it goes. The phrase TMI is really appropriate in tracking your employees physical and mental health.
The Guardian series also deals with several other really interesting themes on the future of work:
- the flattening out of workplace structures
- the rise of artificial intelligence for routine and transactional work
- the use of the human cloud to meet workforce requirements
- workplace monitoring through technology
- the end of retirement
All of the above changes bring their own unique challenges both in terms of practical application and employment law consequences.
Also check out this interesting article by Caitriona O'Dwyer at PA Consulting Group on wearable technology for employees. She poses the question - 'Are we in danger of treating our employees like cattle?' https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/we-danger-treating-our-employees-like-cattle-catriona-o-dwyer
BP gives out Fitbit fitness trackers to its North American staff as part of an incentive programme to reduce healthcare costs. If you can prove you’ve increased your fitness – by hitting a steps-per-day target, for example – you can reduce your health-insurance premium. In the UK and Ireland, Tesco distribution centre staff, wear smart armbands “as a working aid”.