Controversial software introduced to monitor Barclays employees’ activity

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The software monitors Barclays workers’ activity on their computers, and in some instances warns staff in daily updates to them if they are not deemed to have been active enough.

In a news report by City A.M, a whistleblower at Barclays said “the stress this is causing is beyond belief” and that it “shows an utter disregard for employee wellbeing”.

“Employees are worried to step away from their desks, have full lunch breaks, take bathroom breaks or even get up for water as we are not aware of the repercussions this might have on our statistics,” they added.

The software, provided by Sapience, has been rolled out throughout the product control department within the investment bank division at the firm’s Canary Wharf headquarters.

Sapience describe their software as “providing enlightened analytics that drive productivity improvement and engagement.” “Employees can track performance and work habits, significantly improving work-life balance.”

The use of employee monitoring software has come under criticism from many in the internal communications sector.

“This is a masterclass in how to actively disengage teams.” said Lisa Pantelli, Head of Content at simply-communicate.

“I’ve done a lot of work with teams who have been ‘monitored’ this way, and regardless of sector, function and role, the overwhelming cry I constantly hear is ‘trust us’. This is about the need for more effective communication and better leadership and management capabilities. Technology should not be used this way in the workplace, not only does it cross a very shady area, but also has huge implications for people’s health and wellbeing, recruitment and retention and despite this softwares claims – productivity and motivation.”

“This is the flip side of having a personalised digital workplace.” added Marc Wright of simply-communicate.

“Staff should not have to trade a good user experience and better tools for a system that can be used against them in appraisals. We have seen the dark side of information gathering in external social media. Let’s not make the same mistake internally.”