In July Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Workplace Analytics, a new organizational analytics solution that will provide rich, actionable insights into organization’s communication and collaboration trends to help make more effective business decisions.

Workplace Analytics, which is available as part of Office 365 enterprise plan as an add-on, makes use of Office 365 email and calendar metadata, including to/from data, subject lines and timestamps to create set of behavioural metrics that can be used by the managers to know what’s going on in an organization.

Part of those insights is your Productivity Score, an individualized and personalized number between 1 to 800 which tells managers exactly how productive Microsoft thinks you have been, by analysing your every electronic interaction such as time spent in email, time in meetings, after-hours time and network size.

While Microsoft sold this as a way for managers to prevent burn out, New Republic notes that it is equally likely to be used to “optimise” companies based on an unproven metric.

Their particular concern is that Microsoft will make the micro-surveillance of employees mainstream and an accepted part of the work-life, on the basis of unproven and dubious benefits, which are likely to be hacked by workers doing nonsense “grinding” in place of real productive work, simply to increase their score.

The technology is particularly likely to be employed now so many workers are working from home, out of sight of managers.

Microsoft says they “believe people analytics is a competitive necessity for any HR team.” Do our readers agree?

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