Wednesday, January 6, 2016

News You Can't Use: Chair Alerts Company How Long Employees Sit

If you're a nine to five desk jockey, or "sucker" if you prefer, you're probably used to enduring a certain amount of East Germany-style totalitarianism in the name of making your company slightly less of an unprofitable tax right-off until it is moved to Bora Bora. What you're probably not used to is having a nice sit ruined by pressure plates inserted in the old slave chair, but luckily that's about to change through the miracle of technology. The days of leaning and slouching costing The Corporation billions of dollars in lost work hours are officially over.

Office workers probably assume their boss can peek in on their corporate emails. But knowing — exactly — how long they've been sitting down on the job?

Read my mail, give me a pay cut because I posted a picture on an online narcissism site holding booze, make me wear a little red cap as a constant reminder of the pathetic submission that will be demanded, sure. But what about my chair rights? See you later, that's what.

That's the purpose of the "connected caster," an innocent-looking, weight-sensitive wheel that can be affixed to the bottom of an office chair.

Looks innocent, has been created to destroy any remaining vestiges of your personal autonomy. On the bright side it sounds like installation will only require several days and several hundred "It's still on wrong. Does anyone know how to work this thing?"

Detroit-based Tome Inc. worked on the product with  office furniture designer Humanscale — which makes a line of desks for standing up and working at.

The portion of Detroit that isn't currently on fire or under the rule of warlords sure is innovative and industrious.

Humanscale Founder and CEO, Robert King, says, "OfficeIQ is in line with our focus on
solutions that are inherently simple and easy to use, yet have a real impact on wellness in
the workplace. It can generate cost savings and help employers see real returns on their investments in developing healthier and happier places to work." 

"I've been a lot happier since they started monitoring my chair usage. Healthier, too." Single gin-scented tear slides down the side of face.

Humanscale says data on individual workers will be protected and employers receive only receive aggregated data.

Seems highly plausible.

 Better struggle to my feet so I don't get in trouble.

The company says the office software "gamifies" the experience.

It'll be like a wacky fun game! You like games, don't you? 

Individuals can receive activity scores and alerts with smart sit/stand reminders, while companies can set up teams to create "friendly" competition between departments.

Well, at least they had the common courtesy to put friendly in quotes.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.  

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