The Wall Street Journal's Memo to Mobile Workers: The Boss is Watching covers the growing use of labormetrics systems to monitor and track their employees. Key quote:
Thanks to mobile devices and inexpensive monitoring software, managers can now know where workers are, eavesdrop on their phone calls, tell if a truck driver is wearing his seat belt and intervene if he is tailgating.
The growing use of labormetrics - a buzz word that's a play on sabermetrics, baseball's term for the use of statistics and empirical analysis - is interesting to us on two levels.
First, it's clear labormetrics systems are going to be used in most businesses and across most tasks.
But it's also interesting as a counter trend to people looking for more autonomy, flexibility and freedom in their work. These are, of course, key reasons people become self-employed.
But it's also increasingly showing up in research on why people like their jobs. The very popular Results Only Work Environment movement, for example, is based on providing employees flexibilty and autonomy.
The lack of freedom, autonomy and flexibility is also a key reason people don't like their work.
So which path is going to win? Results oriented work environments with lots of freedom or flexibility - or workplaces where labormetrics systems monitor and measure all aspects of work?
The answer is likely both. Those working in high end knowledge based jobs will likely see an increase in the freedom and flexibility in the coming years. Labor competition for people capable of doing this type of work will result in great freedom for these workers.
But expect growing use of labormetrics in lower skilled jobs where labor competition will continue to favor the employer.