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The Quantified Employee

It seems that the practice of organisations using data and insights from personal tracking apps they have given to their employees (or encouraged them to sign up for) is in danger of becoming a thing. Yesterday I came across the FitBit corporate solutions page which offers 'flexible, scalable solutions to fit your budget and improve the health of your employees'.

Buffer, a good exemplar I think of a company with 'digitally-native' values (if I can call them that) give all of their employees a Jawbone UP wristband that they can use to track activity, nutrition, sleep patterns and more. Co-founder Leo Widrich says:

"One of our key values at Buffer is to work smarter, not harder. Together with an immense focus on personal improvement, giving everyone a chance to improve their sleep patterns seemed like a no-brainer. A few weeks in, this has already had an incredible effect. Browsing through everyone’s sleep patterns and discussing how to get more deep sleep over our virtual water coolers has an amazing effect on productivity."

Buffer are not the only ones. To be honest I'm not sure whether to be impressed or terrified by this one. Whilst the goal of improving employee health and productivity might be a laudable one, it does strike me that this only really works in organisational cultures that are characterised by high levels of trust and transparency, and that's by no means every company. So is it empowering or just rather intrusive and a little scary? 

Photo Credit: nolifebeforecoffee via Compfight cc

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