Junk-Mail Firm Straps GPS Devices To People Handing Out Pamphlets

from the how-low-can-you-go? dept

Down in Australia, a firm that hires teens to deliver junk-mail pamphlets to houses has decided to make their processes a bit more efficient by forcing the kids to wear a GPS device that records all their moves -- making sure they visit the houses they were assigned and do so in the order prescribed by the company. Some of the kids aren't particularly happy about being spied on this way, and apparently the company expected that. With the information pack about the GPS devices, they included a simple resignation form for those who weren't happy about the idea. Again, it seems like this is a modern attempt to bring back Taylorism, the idea that all workplace activities can be scientifically monitored and made more efficient -- as if people were machines. There's nothing wrong with working on ways to make employees more productive, but it needs to occur with the recognition that they're human beings and constantly spying on them and making them feel inadequate tends to hurt productivity more than it helps. It certainly doesn't make for particularly loyal employees. Perhaps that's fine for a business such as a junk-mail pamphleteer, but there is still a cost involved in hiring and training new people, while being able to fill in for those who quit. It's one of those things that sounds good to management (oooh, efficiency! productivity!) but whose consequences aren't carefully thought out. Of course, the firm responds to such charges by including the standard line that no one who is actually a good worker should be upset about being tracked, since it's only designed to spot the bad workers.

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  1. identicon
    Supersparky, 31 Oct 2006 @ 6:59am

    Ah, the -entitlements- people think they have

    Just in case everyone hasn't noticed, those that work in offices or restaurants, or docks, or wherever are all being observed and managed by "managers". This has happened as long as there has been employment. The employee is agreeing to be paid a wage for their efforts and the employer is making sure the employee fulfills their end of the contract. Employees are different, employers are different.

    Having a GPS strapped to you is no different than a manager making sure you are doing your job, in person. It's part of the experience.

    It's not "voluntary slavery" either, as you are being paid/compensated for your time and efforts. There is no such thing in slavery; you also get to leave any time you want.

    It's also a lie for someone to say that upper management is not being monitored either. You see, their job depends on the performance of their subordinates. If their departments fail or fall short, then they get canned just as easily as the delivery person. They are responsible for a larger portion of the company's income and are thus compensated more as an incentive for that position. Where much is given, much is expected, and managers have much more to gain, and much more to lose, and certainly much more responsibility.

    Despite what unions try to convince people of, you must "EARN A LIVING". You are not entitled to one. It is up to you to determine that living and who you work for. If you don't like working for MacDonald's, then go work for Burger King. Nobody is forcing you to stay. Frankly, minimum wage work is a dime a dozen and you are infinitely replaceable, those with value get promoted.

    Yes, the manager that behaves like a jerk, tends to not go very far as that does not encourage productivity in the workers and thus reflects badly on him/herself. Typically it's the micromanager. Nevertheless, a good manager can hire good people and make them feel positively motivated and thus make themselves look better in the long run. When things work well, supervision becomes less necessary. However, it is a delicate balance between loyalty and resentment.

    Despite what people think about themselves, everyone is replaceable in the workforce all the way to the CEO.

    I happen to work for a great company that expects performance out of me, but doesn't hover over me while I work. They don't care when I arrive nor when I leave. They just want the job done and done on time. That shows trust and gives me a responsibility to maintain that trust. They compensate me well for my work. I find I work harder for them than I ever did at another job for the same money.

    However, it's always the bonehead that screws it up for everyone else. The bum that tosses the leaflets in the bushes and goofs off the rest of the day, that makes life worse for the hard workers. It's also why we have laws. We have laws because of bad people taking advantage of freedom, the same goes for job rules and management techniques of a given profession.

    I've found those that think they are entitled are usually the losers that slack off and make the work environment worse for everyone else. Those that understand work is a privilege and not an entitlement tend to go farther in their career.

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