Olivier Douliery / Getty Images

After scandal, Microsoft removed employee names from its productivity tracking tool


We recently wrote about the eerie Productivity Score in Office 365, which tracks 73 performance metrics and provides administrators with a quick and easy summary. This drew fair criticism, and now Microsoft has tried to allay surveillance concerns by removing the names of individual employees from the tool.

Olivier Douliery / Getty Images

Olivier Douliery / Getty Images

Analytics for assessing your own productivity have long been present in the Office suite in the form of a tool called MyAnalytics. There are other analytics tools – for example, Outlook can measure how well a group is communicating. An offshoot of this service, known as the Microsoft Productivity Score, measures how well corporate employees use various Office 365 features.

However, the problem with the latter tool was that the ratings were tied to the names of individual employees. The combination of the term “performance rating” and individual names has led some to wonder if this is a special form of surveillance that employers can use to spy on and pressure their employees.

First, Microsoft said it will remove individual usernames from the tool. “In the future, indicators of communication, meetings, collaboration on content, collaboration and mobility in Productivity Score aggregate data only at the organizational level, providing a clear assessment of the use of key functions at the organizational level, Said Microsoft 365 corporate vice president Jared Spataro. – No one in the organization will be able to use the Productivity Score to access data about how an individual user uses apps and services. Microsoft 365 “

Second, Microsoft has pledged to update its user interface for measuring productivity to show that it is designed to reflect the depth of an organization’s use of certain technologies, rather than individual user behavior. Mr Spataro said Microsoft had no intention of increasing employee concerns. “We always strive to find the right balance, but if and when we miss something, we listen carefully to criticism and make the appropriate adjustments”, – he wrote.

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