Tuesday, 02 March, 2021

Barclays scraps ‘Big Brother’ staff tracking system

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Barclays has scrapped a system that tracked the time staff invested at their desks and despatched warnings to individuals spending much too prolonged on breaks.

The lender launched the pc monitoring technique final week, but faced a personnel backlash, claimed by City AM.

Barclays explained axing the monitoring program was a response to “colleague opinions”, but would not say if it was permanent.

The application, Sapience, promises to produce “unparalleled transparency” within providers.

“It also establishes when an personnel goes offline for intervals of time,” the application firm’s web site claims. A Barclays resource explained the resource was used to check the “efficiency” of peoples’ time at their desks.

But in addition to sparking unease in just the financial institution, it attracted criticism from privacy campaigners and HR professionals.

Silkie Carlo, director of privacy marketing campaign group Significant Brother Check out, reported “intrusive monitoring” deprived personnel of privacy in the place of work.

“Professionals would never get away with respiratory down employee’s necks, personally checking their screens or logging rest room and drinking water breaks,” she explained. “The availability of technologies to [monitor] staff members surreptitiously does not make it any additional acceptable.”

She explained the software package as “creepy” and termed on Barclays to “urgently overview” its use.

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Barclays explained the computer software was portion of a pilot that was rolled out in part of its financial investment banking division.

But following the Town AM newspaper revealed aspects of the plan and printed damning responses from an worker who spoke to the paper anonymously, Barclays reported managers would no extended be ready to observe the pursuits of person personnel.

In a statement, the financial institution reported: “We normally supposed to pay attention to colleague suggestions as section of this restricted pilot which was supposed to tackle difficulties this sort of as person above-doing the job as properly as increase normal efficiency.”

But Edward Houghton, head of study at Chartered Institute of Staff and Progress, questioned no matter if it was at any time acceptable to use what he explained as a “Large Brother” tactic to office checking.

“Technologies like this may possibly in fact trigger a lot more hurt than excellent,” he reported.

“They can… produce mistrust or minimal levels of have confidence in for workers – personnel can truly feel like they are currently being viewed and not reliable to do their have get the job done effectively.”

Campaign team Privateness Intercontinental stated: “Details defense rules are pretty apparent, rigid and do not allow for companies to carry out this sort of checking except if they are able to establish that this is strictly important and proportionate and it does not seriously impact employees’ rights.”

“Individuals are entitled to some fundamental legal rights even if they are in perform,” it said. “Intercontinental banking companies are no exception.”

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