The juxtaposition of two articles in the July 9 Globe was startling and scary. “Burned out? You’re not alone” (Page A1) discusses the intrusion of work into our personal lives, while “System would monitor employees” (Page B2) describes a system to ensure even more intrusion, by allowing employers to monitor employees 24 hours a day, purportedly to evaluate them in a less biased way.
One of the researchers wonders whether this monitoring system could “be excessively intrusive.” Absolutely, and probably unconstitutional, too. They should read the Globe article about worker burnout and, while they’re at it, George Orwell’s “1984,” since the proposed technology is reminiscent of Big Brother.
Employer bias in worker evaluations is a concern, but it is often bias against gender, race, and sexual identity, not based on workers’ physical, emotional, or behavioral health. The monitoring solution described in the Metro article would not alleviate these biases, but it would create even more problems and stress for workers. Yet some large employers (we know who they are) are probably salivating over how to implement this system.
The researchers’ STEM educations, intellectual abilities, and university research dollars would have been better spent on solving real problems that affect millions, if not billions of people, such as global warming, food insecurity, or access to clean water.