Why workers prefer to follow machines rather than people

מדוע עובדים מעדיפים שמכונות יעקבו אחריהם ולא אנשים / צילום: Shutterstock

Is there any way for companies to monitor work remotely without isolating employees? Technology has allowed many people to work from home, but it has also made it easier to track their activities and measure their productivity in a company’s computer system.

Companies that have developed remote and hybrid work plans after the coronavirus outbreak may find some value in such monitoring in an effort to maintain productivity across the organization, but when they do they run the risk of upsetting employees. Those who oppose their monitoring and fear its consequences. .

rely more on machine analysis

A new study by researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of Southern California provides insight into how employees think. The researchers found that staff would be willing to track them, and may even welcome it, if the information collected was analyzed by a technical device and not by humans. According to the researchers, people view technical analysis as valuable information, which can help them do their jobs better. The study found that surveillance that only provides information to employees increases their sense of autonomy and motivation, and causes them to resign less.

Conversely, human judgment, whether based on observations or analysis of data provided by machines, provokes criticism among workers.

“The fact that a particular person, whoever it is, can look at your data and draw conclusions about you, frustrates us,” says Dr. Roshni Ravindram, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia. “People are open to using tech products that track their personal aspects,” she says, one of the study’s authors.

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“If your manager checks how long you’ve been staring at a computer screen or how long you’ve been inside a Word document, it’s going to cause us a lot of resistance,” says Ravindram. On the other hand, “if I had a tool that would say to me, ‘I followed you, you’re writing better these days, you seem unproductive these days, these are the hours you need to take a break,'” Only I am more likely to accept it, I will act zealously according to the recommendations. ”

Make tracking data accessible to employees

The researchers conducted five experiments that examined participants’ responses to various aspects of their task monitoring and analysis. According to the findings, participants highly preferred technology-based analysis over human judgment.

Ravindram says organizations should consider making employee tracking data accessible to help them figure out what steps they need to take to improve their performance. “Right now we have access to all kinds of tracking devices, and companies are investing in such technologies, so why not empower people so they can actually see their data?” she says. “These reports can be sent directly to your employees. If they can make decisions and take action based on their behavior they will feel empowered because they trust the technology that has followed them.”

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