Shocked! That's what I was when I came across a link to a story that someone else shared regarding a company called Tesco slapping electronic monitoring devices on its employees that work in their warehouses, supposedly to track productivity, and then penalizing them when certain standards aren't being met, which includes bathroom breaks.

Telephone operators, 1952
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The company has denied the penalization but doesn't seem to see any problem in what they're doing to the segment of their company that probably gets paid the lowest, has the toughest job, and, based on tradition, probably has the highest number of minorities working in the company, though I can't prove that one. The dehumanization of employees and slashing of employee rights is amazing and callous, and one wonders if there's a union and, if so, how they could allow such a thing to occur.

Do you trust your employees? That's a life long question of employers since businesses began. To say that employees might steal from you is far reaching depending on what you consider stealing. If my employees do a lot of writing and ends up taking home a lot of pens during the year accidentally, do I call that stealing, even if I'm accidentally doing the same thing?

If I have employees in food service who decides that before they go home, after a long night at the restaurant, to heat something up to take home with them or eat a quick little something because they weren't given a break after 10 hours, is that stealing, or is that bad management for making sure everyone gets a break and has a chance to eat?

In this case the company says it's tracking productivity. I'm trying to figure out how there won't eventually be a major loss of productivity because of the use of the monitors. Just how long could anyone realistically deal with the pressure of being monitored for the either day in this manner?

I hear it now; someone's saying that some companies use cameras to track what employees are doing all day, or at least could be doing it. I don't support that type of thing either, but I have an understanding of businesses having to use cameras to protect their inventory from both employees and customers potentially committing criminal acts, and as someone who loves to go to the casino to play poker, I'm well aware that cameras are everywhere, following me, other players and all the dealers and other employees to make sure everything stays on the up and up.

But none of those people are bodily monitored, and none of those things are tracking people into the bathroom or into the lunch room.

I understand tracking employee production, but there are other ways of doing it. When I was a director, I tracked production purely by the numbers. If an employee didn't reach their numbers, they were counseled. I also didn't wait until the end of the month; I often asked people how they were doing, and taught my supervisors to do the same thing. I found that when you let employees know what's expected of them, and treat them as adults, they'll achieve great things.

What's your take on this? Would you like having a monitor attached to you and tracking your every move during the work day?