A recent Zapier survey on the future of work polled 600 #knowledgeworkers from SMB companies. 64% said that remote work makes them more productive. While they feel more productive, how can remote professionals demonstrate that productivity without giving up their privacy?  

The Great Reshuffle is about the evolving employee-employer relationship more than just where we perform that work. Monitoring utilization, security and work impact requires transforming traditional informal/formal management processes into structured, automated metrics driven systems. What if every user action was tied to a baseline or project task? Management should be focused on measuring employee output rather than screen or meeting time spent.  

Microsoft Workplace Analytics and Google Work Insights enable employers to track your actions, app time and a lot more. This raw employee activity data can be used and abused by bosses worried that their subordinates are goofing off, taking long breaks to run errands or surfing social media during work hours. So what? Employees are human beings who need breaks and flexibility to perform well. Penalizing a paralegal who took a long lunch for a doctors appointment is counterproductive and creates a hostile work environment unless they had specific on-call duties that were not covered.  

Providers like Prodoscore show how user activity data and analytics can provide literal ‘productivity scores’ for employees without any apparent correspondence to actual work outcomes from those activities. Imagine two sales reps tasked with selling a new product. One spends hours sending hundreds of emails following up on marketing leads with no sales. The second extracts the five largest potential targets and works their social network to make personal connections that result in three large sales. Who had the highest productivity score?  

One of the #eDiscovery challenges tackled by analytics is transforming raw custodial collections into coherent categories and storylines. We look back at the digital debris to reconstruct key decisions, actions and outcomes within the context of the dispute/crime.  

Now managers and systems like Viva Insights have access to some or all employee information. According to Microsoft PM Ed Averett, “Viva Connections is specifically focused on this idea of the relationship between the employer and the employee.” Managers NEED to know what is going on with their subordinates. That is a given. These kinds of activity/productivity monitoring systems can be used ‘for the greater good’ if that goal is clearly defined and agreed upon before bosses start getting weekly activity reports.  

Legal, compliance, HR and security have a wealth of new ESI sources to support post-incident investigations, disputes or discovery requests. As this kind of activity and tracking information becomes used in a everyday business-management context, I expect that we will see it in discovery requests. We are already seeing mobile device data used against criminal defendants. Think about conducting a deposition where both parties have EVERY custodial digital action. That brings us back to the unexpected digital fallout from the Great Reshuffle’s reshaping of that employer-employee relationship.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a free 15 minute ‘Good Karma’ call. He solves problems and creates eDiscovery solutions for enterprise and law firm clients. 

Greg’s blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment or advice. Greg is no longer a journalist and all perspectives are based on best public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being published. Do you want to share your own perspective? Greg is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations.  


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