In a society where anyone can now be terminated from their job and lose their income for an inadvertent comment on social media, what might happen if the same kind of penalties were applied to domestic debates? This is the reality of working from home which now means letting corporate surveillance into your daily life.
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It may take a decade or longer before people eventually return to reality and cease living in fantasy because of the covid pandemic event’s influence on a generation of employees’ false beliefs about labor, production, and work ethics.
Of course, one notable issue is the anti-work motion, which argues that no-skill jobs should be given a living wage or that such people should be supported by government welfare. This is the start of Universal Basic Income (UBI), which means that millions of people will become dependent on government fiat, and maintaining this relationship will become a question of survival. You can not revolt against a corrupt government if you rely on them to provide for your household.
The covid stimulus checks acclimatized the people to the flavor of UBI (together with rent moratoriums), and several of them now have an obsession to living for free. Many Americans and Europeans believe that this is how things should always be, but nothing comes for free. There is always a price and a consequence.
Another concern is the growing popularity of the “work from home” trend. There are certainly numerous technology, media, and data analysis occupations that can be done from home and are probably better done outside of an office than within one. The benefits are significant, with reduced traffic in key population centers, psychological relaxation from the frequently suffocating office environment, and potentially increased work performance. Businesses spend less for office space and supplies. It appears to be a win-win situation.
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However, there is a plan at work that aims to abuse and corrupt the work-from-home dynamics. It is also grounded in an increasing tendency of corporate surveillance of employees at home.
Eight out of ten of the ten top US businesses already monitor productivity measures at work. This includes keystroke data, surveillance cameras, facial and mood recognition software, monitoring software installed on work computers, and even GPS-tracking apps for cell phones. “You don’t have to work here if you don’t want to – you can always quit,” is the go-to justification for this kind of Orwellian all-seeing eye.
This is an evasive remark intended to avoid any discussion of the unethical nature of such severe staff surveillance. People are compensated, but they are also treated like property – they are exploited like slaves with no privacy. What if every employer utilizes employee monitoring? What if there are no alternatives? You can leave, but will you be able to find another job that does not treat you this way?
This type of pervasive encroachment is precisely what the work-from-home motion invites into their everyday lives, as more and more businesses are now demanding that employees permit technological surveillance onto their home computers, cell phones, and even allow corporations to plug video surveillance into worker homes.
According to a recent study published in the SAGE Journal of Management, staff monitoring has the reverse effect of increasing productivity. When participants in worker trials knew they were being observed, they were less productive and more inclined to breach the rules. According to the study, surveillance removes the sense of personal responsibility that people require to be interested in their employment.
One could claim that the decline in output in the experiments was caused by the absence of the threat of real repercussions. There is some validity to this.
In a society where anyone can now be terminated from their job and lose their income for an inadvertent comment on social media, what might happen if the same kind of penalties were applied to domestic debates? What if workplace surveillance was not just about “productivity,” but also focused on regulating employees’ conduct and ideals? This is precisely where we are headed: a world in which what you say in the privacy of your own living room is dissected and scrutinized for “wrong thinking.” And what exactly is “wrong thinking?” It is whatever the people in authority declare it to be. Someone who criticizes the nature of corporate surveillance may one day be fired for “wrong thinking.”
There are several options, the most obvious of which is self-employment and creating your own firm. However, as the economy continues to deteriorate, starting your own firm will become more challenging. One might just go entirely off-grid and try to create essentials for themselves, which is what we truly require rather than a work-from-home trend, but it will take big communities of people all moving off grid to make a significant difference.
Ultimately, the entire foundation for worker surveillance is based on a falsehood. Most occupations that may be done from home are not paid by the hour. Working hard is not the same as being productive. The manager will know if an employee is doing their job since that employee will turn in completed work. Companies do not need to watch employees; instead, they must monitor RESULTS. If a person is reliable, they will produce excellent results and have a large portfolio of completed projects. If a worker is sluggish, they will provide no outcomes. It is actually that easy.
Then why such a large-scale invasion of privacy? Maybe productivity is not the issue at all. Perhaps the goal is to get the populace used to being under constant surveillance through their employment and have them accept this as the new normal.