There is, we are told, an increase in the number of people ‘allowed’ to work at home. This flexibility is a massive boon for everybody: no commuting, mininmal office costs, motivated staff etc, etc. (The number of Americans whose employer has allowed them to work remotely at least one day a month jumped from 7.6 million in 2004 to 12.4 million in 2006*).
Most organisations, however, still have a ridiculous problem trusting their own people to get on with stuff -without watching daytime tv or digging the garden all day. (These are the same people that they spent weeks interviewing and selecting and training). It wouldn’t really be that hard to simply monitor the deliverables generated by homeworkers; but, given that employers are having trouble in this area, today’s invention is a simple tool to help them get over it.
Employees would each be equipped with a webcam and a laptop. Images from the camera would be fed across the internet to some boss’s office where, until he got bored, he could monitor his staff and ensure that they weren’t having too nice a time.
To further pander to employers’ anal retentiveness, the webcam connection would be secured to ensure that no substitution of video streams could occur (ie no sneaking off and leaving behind a movie of you working hard at home). For really lazy employers, automated image analysis could be used to detect the fraction of the day for which eg a coloured badge worn by the employee was in-shot.
* World at Work, hometownannapolis.com 8/6/07