Top researcher slams “troubling” HR tech

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A leading academic has spoken out about the risks of technology after it was revealed that one Swedish company has microchipped more than 100 of its employees.

“This is a concerning result of the increased role technology is playing in the workplace, especially for younger people,” said Dr Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher at HR think-tank Reventure.

“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’s comments came after Epicentre – a digital firm based in Stockholm – confirmed it has microchipped approximately 150 willing employees since first launching the initiative in 2015.

“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,” co-founder and chief executive Patrick Mesterton told the Associated Press. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”

While the microchips allow employees to unlock a door or buy a smoothie with the wave of their hand, they could also give employers the ability to track a plethora of other data – such as when an employee arrives and how long they stay in the workplace.

McMillan said the development is particularly worrying when considered alongside a recent survey which found that 54 per cent of millennials are currently experiencing tech-related stress.

“It’s important that ubiquitous technology does not negatively impact on healthy relationships and lifestyles outside of work,” she said. “To address this requires a concerted response from employers and industry to change the culture – or it will only get worse.”

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