Company implants microchips into employees’ fingers

One Australian academic looks at the impacts of microchips on employee health. Could it happen here?

Company implants microchips into employees’ fingers
A Swedish digital innovation company has begun implanting microchips into the fingers of their employees.

Epicentre’s use of radio frequency identification chips will enable staff to open doors, use office technology like photocopiers and even pay for food at the in-office cafe with the swipe of a finger.

However, the chips will also be used to assist bosses in tracking their employee's activity, including monitoring the length of work hours and toilet breaks.

Epicentre’s 150 workers volunteered to have the microchip, which is about as big as a grain of rice.

But is this a sign of technology being too intrusive?

Indeed, it is, according to Dr Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher at HR think-tank Reventure and campaign director of a future that works.

He said this new workplace practice is a sign of how “unhealthy” workplaces could become in the future.

“This is the concerning result from the increasing role technology is playing in the workplace, especially for younger people,” Dr McMillan said.

“Whilst technology has undoubtedly increased productivity and connectedness, it seems to be having a troubling impact on work patterns and the ability of workers to switch off from their job.”

McMillan cited a 2016 study of more than 1,000 Australian workers which found 46% of respondents feel technology also brings with it the feeling of being ‘always on’ and unable to completely shut-off from work. Moreover, this study was taken before microchips became part of the equation.

“Work-life balance is vitally important for all Australians and it’s important that ubiquitous technology does not negatively impact on healthy relationships and lifestyles outside of work,” he said.

“To address this requires a concerted response from employers and industry to change the culture - or it will only get worse.

“One key issue is how emerging technologies are contributing to stress - 54% of millennials are currently experiencing technology-related stress.”

McMillan concluded by saying if microchips to track staff movement is the future for millennial workers, one can only assume this technology-related stress will only get higher.

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