I’ve got workplace and privacy issues on my mind this week for a few reasons.
When the pandemic struck, it didn’t have much of an effect on my setup. My firm, nNovation, has a corporate address and amenities, but my partners and I tend to work virtually from home offices. It’s been like this forever, and we love it.
What changed is my spouse and the kids started working from home, too. (The school situation has been a rollercoaster, hasn’t it?) Once we arranged their setups a bit better, that too became a breeze. Managing employees, getting schoolwork done, no problem!
I wouldn’t argue with reports I’ve seen suggesting that actually more work is getting accomplished — sometimes I think we’re getting too much done.
But if everyone is ostensibly doing their jobs better, why the renewed interest by some employers in employee surveillance during COVID-19? Those of you who receive the daily CBC News email probably saw the story about the school custodian who refused to download a location-tracking app.
Then there’s the question of employers tracking vaccinations. If you read this recent piece in Canadian Underwriter, there's a lot to be considered both in terms of ensuring a safe workplace and protecting privacy before going ahead with such an initiative. And if we end up having a national vaccine registry, will there be any interplay — who would have access to this thing?
Clearly, privacy at work isn’t a new issue. I wrote a book about it ages ago, and there’s always been a need to ensure a careful balance between an employer’s rights to monitor to an appropriate degree and an employee’s right to privacy at work.
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