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With the recent release of a Government COVID-19 Tracking App, it raises again, the discussion around tracking employees in the workplace.

In reality office workers have been tracked for decades. It started in a ubiquitous way with the receptionist at the door noting and recording all comings and goings.

As technology developed we introduced locked doors and smart cards to open them. We accepted that this was to protect our employer’s security.

We didn’t join the dots to see that now, it was our comings and goings that were being monitored.

Even more sinister has been tracking our clicks at our desk workstations. How many employees have worried that their private correspondence, opinions, or discontent has been invaded in the name of ‘professional’ Human Resources practices, cunningly preparing to re-engineer some poor soul.

George Orwell must have been a time traveller in 1949 when he penned “Nineteen Eighty-Four” which now seems such a long time ago. Reality or Conspiracy?

Like it or not tracking Apps are here to stay. Tracking is inherent in smart phones – and we all use them for ‘healthatainment’ with Apps like Fitbit and Strava, navigating foreign territories, locating our children with ‘find my friends’ and much more.

In the workplace, responsible use enables better communication in closed user groups, protection for employers with obligations to engage with workers, sharing documents while in the field and better user guidance around health and safety.

Maybe the ethical discussion is fading away in favour of practical convenience?

With COVID-19 and the new requirement for health declarations, this is just a new and included feature in tracking technology.