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 @ 4:23am

    Re:

    "I think this is a telling comment. It is only the lowest paid class of workers who are subject to this kind of monitoring. Whereas CEOs who's hourly time is worth $1000's per hour have no monitoring or drug testing. If top management think this sort of monitoring is such a great idea, they should prove it by adopting it first.

    I don't necessarily think GPS for canvassers is a bad idea, but monitoring should by applied fairly across a whole company. Unfortunately, GPS monitoring also means that the company can now dictate how many miles per hour each canvaser must walk and can slowly increase and enforce that standard until it becomes extreme."

    This is a lie. In several of my recent installations, in fact the FIRST vehicles to have GPS Devices installed were installed into the CEO and General Managers vehicles.

    Get a clue before opening your mouth please.

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