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
    GPS Developer, 2 Nov 2006 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Unfair Judgement / Overzealous Reporting

    "The term *get away with* combined with 'freedom' (in quotes) just implies that freedom (and the trust necessary to grant it) is something that must be obtained through deception or trickery on the employee's part (gotten away with). The entire sentence just drips with suspicion ..."

    No, the concept of 'freedom' in this case, is the level of a 'blind eye' the employer will provide based upon performance of the employee. There is nothing sinister involved here. A police officer is less likely to arrest a man in a suit cought smoking cannabis down a back alley than they are a young punk. A manager will not see a comeback for phoning their wife/husband about dinner if their performance is on par and the work one extra hour every day (this is REALLY commonplace).

    Frankly you seem to lack all reality of how a workplace and it's employees really operate. This is why you almost certainly fail as a manager, and you will never work at a high level for a significant project. Furthermore your paranoia driven attempts to suggest 'lack of freedom' are the cream on the cake with regard to proof that you really don't know what your talking about.

    Instead of paranioa and sensationalism (which is what leads to most of the issues described on this page) why not try reality and honesty for a change.

    With regard to turning these devices off at lunchtimes etc. This is rarely done simply because if you provide the option to turn the devices off, many will turn them off, returning with the excuse "it's broken" having done something irresponsible during the downtime.

    Anonymous Coward also seems to believe that freedom should be given to all, but I ask if he/she also agrees that therefore rapists should be allowed out of jail?

    Is it really right that someone be paid regularly for a job they don't do? If these people are not trustworthy (as with a rapist) should they have their 'freedoms' removed? Is this 'freedom' when all you are doing is requesting they carry a GPS Device while they work? The difference is, they can quit. You can't quit jail.

    Frankly you're definition of freedom is contradictory and ill-prepared. I suggest strongly that you go think what freedom really means before writing such dribble.

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