Microsoft files for patent on monitoring employee behaviour

Microsoft has filed a patent for covering a computer system that can monitor the behaviour of employees while also assigning positive or negative scores to each action.

The patent filing, discovered by GeekWire, could include flagging someone who repeatedly cuts off colleagues during conversations, or raising the alarm over a supervisor who repeatedly bugs underlings during their lunch break, Live Science reported.

Such scoring would presumably rely upon subjective criteria set by the employer regarding what counts as “good” or “bad” work habits.

The range of possible monitored behaviours includes word phrases, body gestures, and mannerisms “such as wearing dark glasses in a video conference” or “wearing unacceptable clothing to a business meeting”.

In addition to what the existing examples of employee monitoring software can do like tracking websites visited, capturing keystrokes or screenshots on a worker’s computer, Microsoft’s idea would take workplace surveillance another step forward by creating software capable of analysing those human behaviours.

The Microsoft patent idea doesn’t automatically grant power to the boss or the HR department, it also envisions how workers might benefit from such monitoring software by getting feedback about their behaviour directly, so that they could use it as a self-improvement tool.

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