Paging Big Brother! A new wearable, a wristband called the Moodbeam One, which alerts bosses if their employees are unhappy has been making some waves on the internet – and they’re not the positive kind.
“Businesses are trying to get on top of staying connected with staff working from home. Here they can ask 500 members: ‘You okay?’ without picking up the phone,” says Moodbeam co-founder Christina Colmer McHugh.
According to the BBC…
The gadget, which links to a mobile phone app and web interface, has two buttons, one yellow and one blue. The idea is that you press the yellow one if you are feeling happy, and the blue one if you are sad.
Aimed at companies who wish to monitor the wellbeing of staff who are working from home, the idea is that employees are encouraged to wear the wristband (they can say no), and press the relevant button as they see fit throughout the working week.
Managers can then view an online dashboard to see how workers are feeling and coping. With bosses no longer able to check in physically with their team, Moodbeam hopes to bridge the gap.
Good luck with all that.
I mean, who wouldn’t volunteer to put some surveillance technology on their body that records their moods and can be monitored by their bosses? Oh, right, pretty much everyone.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties in the digital world, isn’t a big fan of ideas such as the Moodbeam One.
Purveyors of a variety of new and repurposed surveillance technologies seek to help employers mitigate the risks of workplace COVID infections. But many of these technologies pose severe threats to workers’ privacy and other fundamental rights. In particular, a technology that creates graphs of interactions between co-workers could stifle workers’ freedom to associate, even safely, and enable turnkey union-busting. Furthermore, many of these tools are untested and unproven, and may not be as effective as employers hope. While employers must do what they can to keep their workers safe, such efforts should not come at the price of undermining workers’ privacy.
Guess who else isn’t a big fan of ideas such as this? Employees.
What?! Just wearing this wristband would make me unhappy all the time.— Dr. Kristin Briney (@KristinBriney) January 18, 2021
Also, why does my boss need to know if I’m happy?
Worker Number 2071. We have detected a loss in your happiness since yesterday. Do you not enjoy working for our glorious oligarchs? Please improve your happiness score immediately or you amazon gift cards will be cut down. Happy working!— Deeps (@candle_light19) January 18, 2021
I'll save companies some money here: we are all miserable https://t.co/qA3e4BjS3L— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) January 18, 2021
This could be achieved by just taking a wristband and writing 'I am unhappy' on it and wearing it all the time.— Ian Randall (@Epinicion) January 19, 2021
And if your unhappy then what?— Shinebright (@Shinebr57241896) January 18, 2021
That… is a GREAT question.