Headline, February 03 2021/ FUTURE : ''' '' [ 996 * ] -WORKPLACE- 11116 '' '''

FUTURE : ''' '' [ 996 * ] -

WORKPLACE- 11116 '' '''

SLOUCHING OR SLACKING ? : These chairs will know and never ever forget.

AN EMPLOYEE ANONYMOUSLY REVEALED the existence of the special cushions in a widely circulated post she wrote online late last year on 19Iou, a lifestyle forum.

Local news outlets picked up the tale this month. The woman recalled her alarm when a company manager asked her about half-hour breaks she had taken from her work station, and she said she had been threatened with reductions to her annual bonus for supposedly slacking off.

''What could it mean?'' she wrote in a panic. ''It means that all the evidence is in the cushion, and my boss knows it.''

A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY DESIGNED ''SMART'' cushions and gave them to its employees for their office chairs as part of a product study.

The cushions were supposed to monitor their health, not bad postures as a sign of possible fatigue, measure heart rates and tally minutes spent at work stations. But when the company's human resources managers began -

Inquiring about employees long breaks and early departures from work, it soon became clear that the cushions were also recording the last thing the employees wanted their bosses to know : when they were absent from their desks, potentially spelling trouble for workers.

The episode at the company, Health Boost IoT Technology, has raised questions about privacy and transparency in the workplace, and set off an online debate about the boundaries of corporate surveillance.

The company, based on the eastern city of Hangzhou, said in a statement that it had issued a warning to the human resource manager for ''disseminating'' participants data without permission.

But the company's chief executive, Zhang Biyong, defended the manger's right to scrutinize the whereabouts of its employees.

''If the employees aren't at their desk seats,'' he said in an interview, ''then we can't collect the data.''

Health boost released a statement on Dec 23 denying that it was surveilling its staff members from the seats of their office chairs.

The company designs what it calls ''unobtrusive'' health devices, like the SlaapLekker ]''sleep well'' in Dutch], a device fitted to mattresses to measure heart health.

Mr. Zhang also co-authored research papers on a chair ''sensory mat'' that could monitor posture, heart rate and ''unobtrusive early stress detection'' technology for ''future smart offices''.

In a phone interview, he said the contentious cushions were meant to reduce workplace fatigue and prevent aches and pains caused by long hours at the office.

Data collected from employees through sensors on the cushions, he said, were to monitor their health and improve the product technology, not to evaluate their work performance. The data could nudge a worker not to to slouch through a table of measurements displayed on the employees laptop and smartphone.

Chinese tech companies are known for their punishing work hours, described as ''996'' - in which employees toil from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week - or its close sibling., 11116 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. six days a week.

But young employees have been resisting the low pay and limited mobility by taking long lunch breaks and making frequent toilet visits in a philosophy called ''touching fish'', an idiom for ''seizing the moment''.

Mr. Zhang said it was the responsibility of  human resources to keep an eye on the health of the staff saying, ''We now have a tool that can help HR maintain the health of workers.

Matthijis Hockstra, who described the Health Boost study said he had used the cushion technology to research ''office vitality and health'' with the consent of the participants.

''We collaborate at the technology level, and to improve the technology, we also collaborate in collecting example data voluntarily for scientific experiments in laboratories,'' Mr. Hoekstraw wrote in an email.

The researchers declined to comment on the level of access that Health Boost's human resources manager had to employees data. Asked whether he would reconsider elements of the study following the outcry online, Mr. Zhang said he had done nothing wrong.

''We've consulted many lawyers; we have the consent forms of the participants,'' he said.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Employees, Workplace, Environments, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Tiffany May and Amy Chang Chien.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Chairs - Charms '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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