A Swedish business has reportedly planned to microchip its employees, leading to questions about the lengths to which businesses can and should go in order to monitor their workforces.
It was revealed the company, Epicenter, planned to implant 150 workers at its Stockholm office in a bid to better monitor the working hours of its employees.
However, unlike the implants used to track and identify household pets, these microchips are understood to perform various functions around the campus, including acting as a swipe card to unlock doors and give permission for printers.
My Business attempted to contact the company but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
According to Dr Lindsay McMillan of HR thinktank Reventure, businesses can actually do more harm than good by bombarding their workforce with too much technology.
“Microchip implants are used to replace swipe cards or keys, but having one for work means your employer could have a digital record of all your movements,” he says.
“It is vitally important that workers don’t feel pressured to adopt drastic and invasive measures such as microchipping.”
Dr McMillan says workers are increasingly suffering under the weight of what he calls “technology-related stress”, and as such employers need to develop workflow strategies that alleviate this stress, not add to it.
“Fifty-four per cent of millennials say they are experiencing technology-related stress; workers are unable to switch off because they think being “on call” is what makes them valuable,” he says.
The problem, Dr McMillan suggests, is an ingrained cultural perception that working ever harder equals ever greater efficiency and productivity.
He even cites a surprising international study by accounting firm PwC suggests that 70 per cent of people would consider having treatments that enhance their brains and/or their bodies in a bid to achieve greater performance at work.
“Work/life balance is vitally important and all Australians should get a chance to be completely away from work,” says Dr McMillan.
“We need to address this with a concerted response from employers and industry to change the culture, or it will only get worse.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.