Barclays staff are being monitored to see how long they are at their desks in what the bank described as an exercise to assess office space usage.
According to Bloomberg, OccupEye devices – described as wireless workplace utilisation sensors – are being used to monitor desk use by employees.
The bank said this is to better understand how long people are at their desks, rather than a Big Brother-like measure of staff productivity.
The wireless heat and motion sensors collect data and report in real-time, with the data being sent to a cloud-based analytics platform. Barclays said that staff and union Unite were notified before the devices, which are placed on the underside of desks, were rolled out.
However, according to Bloomberg, Barclays employees said they don’t remember being informed about the boxes. It added that the bank said there have been no official human-resources complaints.
Barclays told Bloomberg: “The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity – they are assessing office space usage. This sort of analysis helps us to reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”
Unite national officer Dominic Hook said in a statement: “We were given assurances that the boxes did not monitor individuals or their performance.”
The union said it “will keep a close eye on the situation to make sure that the sensors are never used to spy on staff or as a means to measure productivity”.
Sensors and data analytics technology for people tracking are also enabling businesses such as retailers and transport hubs to make decisions on the location of facilities and the layout of premises to maximise the use of space.
With the cost of real estate high in cities such as London, banks will monitor office usage to find opportunities to save money. .... ... .... .... .... ...