Reading your article from the perspective of a new parent with a working spouse, I’m torn between the desire to improve parental support and the power balance you mentioned. I also think the economics of this data collection is a weak argument. Even under idealistic conditions (where companies somehow exhibit no bias and use this solely for employee benefit), this data would could only allow minor improvements. Corporations are limited by their size and capacity. A small business can’t offer as generous parental leave as a large corporation no matter how much data it gleans from its employees. Reform is needed, and I agree that intrusive data collection is not the answer for a myriad of reasons.
The variability in workspaces is a key difference that we didn’t have to contend with before. The uniformity of an office creates a more level playing field. As someone who has a 5 month old at home and a wife who works full-time (still going into the office twice a week), the effect on my productivity has been horrendous. I’ve had to cram work into margin periods when my daughter is sleeping. We are also crammed into a one bedroom apartment which doesn’t help. It’d be interesting to see work productivity before and after for each demographic. I’m sure some will benefit and some will be harmed, but the question is how much. I’m also curious at to what employers are doing to see through this temporary difference in productivity, especially for those employees who are struggling with the new situation.
Interesting post about the adoption and implementation of network analysis. I wonder what other tools management has at its disposal to encourage adoption of these invasive platforms. In addition to what you mentioned about transparency, I think a top down approach would speed up implementation. If top level management wears badges and gets feedback (up to the CEO getting feedback from the board), I think an organization is less likely to lose trust with employees and get buy in. Pairing promotions with higher data collection requirements could be seen as a reasonable tradeoff (i.e. once you reach a senior vice president level, you wear a badge). This emphasis on top level management could also help with reputation issues (like what we see with Amazon tracking data on warehouse workers).