Knowledge workers have long known that their corporate computer and phone usage is tracked, but other types of workers are just getting used to the idea.
A new report in the Wall Street Journal details how telematics are working their way into the cabs of tractor trailers, delivery trucks and other non-traditional "office" environments, subjecting workers to the same monitoring as their desk-bound bretheren.
Spencer Ante and Lauren Weber report:
Blue-collar workers have always been kept on a tight leash, but there is a new level of surveillance available to bosses these days. 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.
"Twenty-five years ago this was pipe dream stuff," said Paul Sangster, CEO of JouBeh Technologies, a Canadian company that develops tracking, or "telematics," technology for businesses. "Now it is commonly accepted that you are being tracked."
According to research from the Aberdeen Group, 37 percent of companies that send employees out on service calls track the location of workers (in real time!) through either the phones or tablets they carry or the vehicles they drive.
While the business reasons are clear—less wasted time equals, presumably, more profit—the privacy issues are less so. From a legal perspective, workplace tracking tech is mostly unregulated in the U.S. From a personal perspective, tracking tech can be invasive and demoralizing.