Barclays Installs Desk Sensors To Monitor Employees

As we reported last month, a Wisconsin company called Three Square Market has become the first company in the US to offer microchip implants to its employees. The firm, which designs software for breakroom markets, wants employees to use microchips to help facilitate vending-machine payments. The firm wanted to use its employees as test subjects for their product. And though the program was strictly voluntary, it marks an uncomfortable beginning of a trend that could someday result in all humans being involuntarily microchipped.

Now, across the pond, companies are escalating efforts to monitor their employees.

Barclays Plc has installed devices at its London headquarters that track how much time bankers spend at their desks. While a spokesperson for the bank says the devices aren’t meant to evaluate employees’ performance, their introduction has clearly spooked members of the rank-and-file, who leaked the story to Bloomberg.

The devices are manufactured by OccupEye and use heat and motion sensors to record how long employees are spending at their posts.

According to Bloomberg, employees inundated management with questions about the devices after they first appeared under their desks. The bank reportedly didn't neglected to inform some employees ahead of time.

“Managers were peppered with queries when investment bank staff in London discovered black boxes stuck to the underside of their desks in recent months, according to several Barclays employees who asked not to be identified speaking about their workplace. They turned out to be tracking devices called OccupEye, which use heat and motion sensors to record how long employees are spending at their posts.


There was a “phased roll-out” of the devices, and Barclays staff and the Unite union were notified before they were installed, although the bank did not send out a specific memo about them, according to spokesman Tom Hoskin. The Barclays employees said they don’t remember being informed about the boxes, but spokespeople for the bank said there have been no official human-resources complaints.”

The devices, made by Blackburn, U.K.-based Cad-Capture, are pitched as a way for companies to find out how they can reduce office space, providing a multicolored dashboard to show managers which workstations are unoccupied and analyze usage trends.

“The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage,” the bank said in an emailed statement. “This sort of analysis helps us to reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”

While the devices could be part of CEO Jes Staley’s efforts to reduce the company’s real-estate footprint, Barclays employees have a reason to be paranoid. According to Bloomberg, many investment banks have been taking steps to more closely monitor their employees as banks face shrinking profit margins in key businesses like trading.

“Investment banks are increasingly using technology to keep tabs on how their staff spend their time. Barclays has introduced a computer system to track how much is earned from every client, allowing bosses to determine how much time traders, analysts and salespeople should spend with each customer.”

An officer with UK trade union Unite said the union was promised that data collected from the boxes wouldn’t be used to evaluate employees.

“We were given assurances that the boxes did not monitor individuals or their performance,” Unite national officer Dominic Hook said in a statement. The union “will keep a close eye on the situation to make sure that the sensors are never used to spy on staff or as a means to measure productivity.”

Lloyds Banking Group, which, like Barclays has been trimming its London office space, also uses similar devices. Sources inside major US investment banks like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup Inc. told Bloomberg that they don’t use devices like these.


GUS100CORRINA Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:32 Permalink

Barclays Installs Sensors To Monitor How Long Employees Spend At Their DesksMy response: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU TO SEE IF WE CAN REPLACE YOU WITH A ROBOT!

Last of the Mi… Sun, 08/20/2017 - 19:28 Permalink

“The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage,”  Aaaaannnnnd MIcky D's kiosks are designed to let employees have more time to interact with customers, Injectable ID's are to help you log onto your computer more quickly, and FB is really concerned about hate speech with their (now massive) censorships. Utopia in acton as little by little your freedoms, well, just . . .  disappear.

Stanley Lord Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:44 Permalink

Bloomberg has been doing that for years, in your review they have a list of how long you were on the phone, how long in the bathroom, how long at lunch how long away from your keyboard.

This is part of the reason Bloomberg never ran for Presidet, he spys on his employees, and clients, as well as his abysmal record for maternity leave.

Yen Cross Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:43 Permalink

  Barclays needs to install sensors that watch how long their currency traders spend in chatrooms, colluding before the London fixing everyday.

cherry picker Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:44 Permalink

These dictators running corporations, home owner associations, and others make big brother .gov look like amateurs.Good thing my time line is short, getting tired of this planet and the games the people play.

Bam_Man Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:46 Permalink

If you are willing to sell your soul to receive a paycheck from one of these obscenely criminal banks, then this should not be a big deal.

CRM114 Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:50 Permalink

About 230 years ago, the absolute favorite activity of French peasants was watching their former estate managers go to the guillotine. They'd get there hours early for the best view. They'd bet on their last actions. There were pies and wine, a regular tailgate party.Today's equivalent would manager. Patience, it's coming.

GRDguy Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:53 Permalink

Just another effort by Barclays (founded in 1690) to control the world as one of the original agents of The Great Red Dragon, who's stated goal "is to own the earth in fee-simple."  They're obviously working hard at it.

hooligan2009 Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:55 Permalink

recently built london offices blocks consist entirely of "hot desks"no cubilces, you turn up with your lap top and plug into any "port" on banks of desks that have phones/additional networked pcsmeeting rooms, kitchen areas and quiet rooms are available for walk -ins or bookings.staff have the option of working from home for the odd month or two in a year, since it makes no difference if they are in the office or notthe big issue is, there is a complete disintegration of any teamwork or iterative interaction - you exist, virtually, in the cloud as an avatar (or avatard!).there is no team culture or identity - this is the new "PC" world.the next step is to monitor key strokes and verify quality via algorithms that verify the content in terms of boxes ticked.the of course, research can be completed entiely remotely by bots that receive information and post it in the right boxes to set a minimum standard that employees frequenetly fail to make.of course, no gut (insitnct), no glory - all profit will be printed by algos, using crypto currencies that have no ontrinsic, just complete and utter bullshit, value.