back to article Privacy campaigner flags concerns about Microsoft's creepy Productivity Score

Microsoft's Productivity Score has put in a public appearance in Microsoft 365 and attracted the ire of privacy campaigners and activists. The Register had already noted the vaguely creepy-sounding technology back in May. The goal of it is to use telemetry captured by the Windows behemoth to track the productivity of an …

  1. Howard Sway Silver badge

    evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

    If a company I worked at ever decided that my productivity and contributions were to be measured by shit like this, rather than management understanding that the work I produced was much more than a collection of stupid metrics, I would point out to the big boss at the top that management had actually been made redundant by this tool, as the computer was now doing their entire jobs automatically, and therefore all the managers could now be got rid of, as they no were no longer productive themselves.

    And then I would hand in my notice.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

      Given how poor the other automated metrics coming out of Office 365 are, this will soon be destined for the bin. I've been getting wellbeing one for a bit - very silly, now disabled.

      Anyway, it's in the power of all you Office 365 admins out there to turn this off before it's unleashed!

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

        So now people are paying the Big Sponge company for the privilege to beta test stuff for them?

      2. teknopaul

        Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

        Today I communicated at the start or the day I was going to do no more communication, turned off Teams and Outlook and was far more productive as a result.

    2. PTW

      Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

      Trying to manage knowledge workers like their factory farmed call centre employees*, this is what happens when you let bean counters run businesses. Just like "my friend's wife", she knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

      * I do pity anyone that finds themselves in the hell that is a modern call centre, probably on some 13 week contract so not really an employee

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

        Not at all surprised...

        A company that I was a contract worker for had at one point OccupEye desk occupancy/motion detectors

        They then went over to Office365 and I started getting these productivity emails - IIRC, you could turn off the feature for the most part, there was one particular metric or feature that it said will still be advised as a helpful gesture, so the snooping still happened.

        The same company's Call Centre employees would get measured on various call handling metrics, including time on breaks, time between calls, excess time beyond allotted break times etc, with the team leader getting those reports. If you had to go and speak to one of them, first they had to get permission from their team lead to log themselves off the call handling system, and the team leader would have to be told once you had completed your business with them as the pressure to be actively performing was relentless.

        Eventually, much of the Call Centre workers were laid off as the company offshored that - one can only guess that those offshore call centre employees would be under even greater surveillance and performance monitoring.

        And the in-house IT support function...? That too got offshored to one of the usual suspects. But even before that, the IT support function appeared to be driven by ServiceNow performance metrics/the emphasis was SLA and just do anything to get the ticket off the queue - resolution of the underlying issue was secondary, and that has been carried forward even with the outsourced function

        A comment I made at the time I worked there was that the general work culture at the company was akin to being in a cult.


        1. Danny 14

          Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

          I rememebr being on a software assistance helpline. We were expected to take 30 calls per day, usual metrics. One lad used to take 70 by basically getting every call to factory reset. He was given bonus after bonus. Then the rest of the team would get sanctioned because our call rate would drop due to us spending an hour getting the shit back together for the customer when they rang back. He got filled in one lunch time, everyone had an alibi.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

            I've been on the receiving end of this sort of activity.

            Our helldesk is outsourced to an outfit with a name very similar to a well known brand of brown sauce. I got so fed up with being fobbed off with the usual "run this tool, then that tool, then reboot" - only to find (not unexpectedly as I'd already done that) that the problem wasn't resolved but the ticket had been closed as resolved, and sometimes even with a comment that "user agrees problem fixed" - that I reported that I had suspicions of fraud.

            Not a lot came of it - I got "reassured" that these things are monitored, and the provider has been reminded of their contractual obligations. It will be interesting to see what happens next time I have an IT issue.

            I suspect that all that will happen is that the brown sauce maker will remind it's support agents to be more careful about this - i.e. not to get caught out so easily.

            1. Lotaresco

              Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

              Our helldesk is outsourced to an outfit with a name very similar to a well known brand of brown sauce.

              IIRC that means that the work is done in the Czech republic. Their English language skills are much better than centres outside Europe but they are under the usual pressure to get you off the phone ASAP and aren't going to be spending lots of time on actually fixing the problem.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

                Ah, I hadn't really thought about where the sweatshop was located, but thinking about it the conversation tone is very different to the Indian sweatshops I've dealt with in the past.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

          " company's Call Centre employees would get measured on various call handling metrics"

          One of which is time to resolve, which is why many call centre 'support' staff are not incentivised to help, but to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible, and to mark problems as solved even when they aren't

    3. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

      I look forward to

      - Power Pup telling me how useless I am

      - Blowing him away with a digital shotgun

      1. Danny 14

        Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

        Im sorry, I cant do that Dave.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

      Power to the people...…..

    5. jmch Silver badge

      Re: evaluating "productivity" data can shift power from employees to organisations

      Thing is, it's not measuring productivity at all. It's measuring some shit that may or may not be a partial measure of productivity for a small subset of employees. And the problem is that what is measured and reported becomes a target (someone's law, can't remember the name!)

      And so instead of doing real productive work, employees will end up sending messages, attending meetings or whatever other crap is being measured

  2. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Why not by number of code lines?

    Giving employees a score that they can game will never be useful

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: Why not by number of code lines?

      Surely it should be number of instructions per line of code?

      That will make the C++ really easy to read ;o)

      1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

        Re: Why not by number of code lines?

        Surely it should be number of instructions per line of code?

        There's a well known purveyor of business computers that used to assess coder productivity simply by lines of code written - more lines of code == more productive. That's one reason why, when they were fighting off the attack on their stranglehold of business computing by Apple and Commodore et al, they had to buy in an OS from some guy called gates - their own people didn't know how to write code to run on small machines. Compact code simply didn't fit the corporate style.

        1. Lotaresco

          Re: Why not by number of code lines?

          Compact code simply didn't fit the corporate style.

          I was once reprimanded because in the Monday team meeting I announced that in the previous week I had spent time pruning the cruft out of the code and had speeded up execution times, improved reliability and got rid of many, many errors that had been fixed not by correcting the errors but by writing a routine to "adjust" the outputs.

          Fixing our own mistakes was a revenue earner. Slow execution time a good reason for marketing to sell the customer a new improved system and keeping a large farm of coders in work made the boss look good because he was responsible for a large team.

          Oh and of course the thousands of lines that I pruned away looked like negative productivity on the metrics.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not by number of code lines?

      Ha! So, another place I worked at (I have just posted as AC to the topic above this), this time not just a UK company, but an international one - all source code on the company wide git repo would be subject to performance metrics with heatmaps for various things. You could drill down the repo from the company/division/application level down to the individual developer. Some of it could indeed be easily gamed

  3. Magani
    Big Brother

    Design vs Use

    To be clear, Productivity Score is not designed as a tool for monitoring employee work output and activities.

    Just because MSFT say it wasn't designed to do something doesn't mean that it won't be used for that task.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: Design vs Use

      And just because people want to use it for that, it doesn't mean it'll be any good at it, either.

      1. 0laf

        Re: Design vs Use

        If it's anything like the "Secure Score" you get points for taking on risk through new products not minimising risk.

        This sounds like your use of 365 tools will be monitored so to get a good 'score' I'd need to hammer Teams, Yammer, Streams etc with fatuous comments and emojis probably contributing nothing and not actually doing my job.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Design vs Use

          Can't you write a bot to do that stuff? Then get back to the important work of commenting on Web forums.

    2. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: Design vs Use

      Yep, Excel and COVID tracking come to mind on this one.

    3. PTW

      Re: Design vs Use

      Two words, scope creep, "well it wasn't originally intended to be used like that, but people asked for the additions"*

      * a lie, it really was

      1. Down not across

        Re: Design vs Use

        Insights are shown in aggregate over a 28-day period and are provided at the user level so that an IT admin can provide technical support and guidance."

        So which one is it? MSFT was saying "oh no it only aggregates", but if it goes to individual level then clearly "only aggregate" is not true.

        You know this will be abused by some employers/manglement. No, it won't be "provide support and guidance", it will be more like here is your P45 you lazy git.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Design vs Use

          It can look at an individual user, but it doesn't show you information about what they're doing at any given moment, but only what they did in each 28-day period. Which is extremely different, because there's no way that any information could be extracted, for example by cycling through new rolling periods and looking at the difference between them, or going into the settings to look at more fine metrics. Yes, definitely the time aggregation will be sufficient to make this difficult to abuse.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Design vs Use

      Looks like employee monitoring to me:

      "The score includes:

      Metrics to help you see how people are using Microsoft 365 products to collaborate, communicate, and work across platforms.

      Insights about the data to help you identify opportunities to improve employee productivity and satisfaction.

      Recommended actions you can take to help the people in your organization use Microsoft 365 products efficiently so everyone can do their best work."

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Design vs Use

        I think this is awesome! So to get a perfect 800, and be awarded the MS emoji for top performing employee-

        Communication (100 points)

        Meetings (100 points)

        Content collaboration (100 points)

        Teamwork (100 points)

        Mobility (100 points)

        Endpoint analytics (100 points)

        Network connectivity (100 points)

        Microsoft 365 Apps Health (100 points)

        Total possible = 800 points

        You get 500 points for meetings, talking about meetings, travelling to/from meetings and having a shared doc open during meetings where your team can write 'bored bored bored' or play buzzword bingo. Or creating signs saying 'Collaborators Will Be Shot!'

        But for general productivity, I think I would have struggled to be productive given my most used MS tool was Visio, and my least productive work was dismissing chat/skype/emails & general MS nagware that distracted me from what I was trying to do. But poor'ol Visio never did get much integration into other MS apps. Not sure if that was a good/bad thing, other than sometimes being productive trying to get visio diagrams to play nicely inside Word. Then again, we had a good document production crew for app-wrangling who were more than happy for me to just send them text & inputs that they'd integrate. Which is arguably more efficient than having multiple document contributors wrestling with MS formatting voodoo.

        But I rather suspect MS's main output will be attempts to flog more licences and training.

    5. druck Silver badge

      Re: Design vs Use

      It freaked me out when I got the first productivity score email at my pre-covid employers, its even more frightening when you realise this is just the tip of the iceberg of information they are collecting.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Design vs Use

        ...its even more frightening when you realise this is just the tip of the iceberg of information they are collecting.

        It'll be fine. But modern business is.. weird. Executives seem to have been conditioned to outsource their companies most valuable assets & most sensitive documents. Stick'em in a cloud, it'll be fine. It'll improve collaboration! Assuming of course you have a bomb-proof trust model with your cloud provider. If not, well, a hack or unauthorised access might leak your IP and other share price sensitive stuff. But it'll be fine, your company will be entitled to 1 month service credits!

        Just share your productivity data with MS in exchange for a few graphs. See how your company stacks up against the competition! Get a free 365 licence if your competitors somehow get access to your data!

        I used to despair at the number of well-known brands who'd want me to design secure networks, sometimes with end-end encryption. And having to write detailed responses to how we could protect their businesses when the RFP expressed an intent to move their data into Google apps, or 365. Quite a few CTO/CIOs would probably have been far better serving their shareholders with 3663 products than sipping the Cloud kool-aid.

        1. Gritzwally Philbin

          Re: Design vs Use

          Kill me now. The small business I work at is recently on the cloud with google docs and it's a nightmare. I've taken to slipping into the office and sorting, dating and saving the documents - usually left open in multiple tabs on one of any number of browsers. The manager is completely lost with how to use the system. The downloads folder? Mother of God.. I counted 37 redundant downloads of the SAME document. Who does this?

          At one point, everything was locally stored and the folders were organized. I kept it all tidy for the department directors. Then the manager got sold on the cloud and well.. I'm not needed anymore for this aspect of the job, thankyouverymuch.

          On top of it, former employees still have their remote logins *in* the system. At the point when *that* ticking time-bomb goes off - it makes me absolutely delighted to have been marginalized and relieved of my duties WRT the IT. I'll repair the laptops, set up networks, and get everything running again (fucking HP printers!) when it goes titsup, but am completely and utterly out of it as far as data.

          My biggest peeve with the cloud, is that it enables too many users that have ZERO capacity to run IT for a business, to think they can.

          This whole metrics thing in 365? Good luck with that Jack.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Design vs Use

            My biggest peeve with the cloud, is that it enables too many users that have ZERO capacity to run IT for a business, to think they can.

            Yup, I feel for you, and it's the kind of experience I tried to warn clients about. Problem is IT is still viewed as an overhead, even if it's a sword of Damocles hanging overhead. IT is critical to businesses, so let's abstract it and throw it into a 'cloud'. Which is a shame, especially as the 'cloud' is just a bunch of remote compute & storage hardware that small/medium/large businesses could fit in a rack or two and have control over their data and destiny.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

              Re: Design vs Use

              It is the same ease of use that makes people treat Excel as a database. But that has been 'discussed' on other threads...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Design vs Use

      Microsoft need to go and read 'IBM and the Holocaust' before they try absolving themselves from blame for how their technology is used.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Design vs Use

      But it is a very effective way of measuring productivity - the people with high O365 use are the people who aren't actually delivering for the business's bottom line. Probably Microsoft already know that though, fortunately for them the PHBs won't see it that way.

    8. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Design vs Use

      Yes, and speed cameras are not a revenue raising system.

  4. Peter Prof Fox

    Measure what exactly?

    Oh good our surveillance dashboard shows Bloggs has just spent three hours on [so-called productivity tool]. That shows it must be making a difference to productivity. Possibly negatively when he doesn't know how to use it properly, is using it for the wrong thing, is getting in a right fury at the sodding straight-jacket, and isn't allowed to 'be productive' with a tool he's been using effectively for years.

    Gosh! Look was a good communicator Smith is. Constantly interrupting people because he doesn't understand simple instructions is worth a gold star. Give the monkey another peanut.

    It appears this 'productivity measurement' is the opposite. How much time and effort is diverted from actually producing things.

    1. Diogenes8080

      Magic Quadrant

      Take that thought a step further, Prof. Fox.

      Given the management magic quadrant of benign/malignant vs competent/incompetent (after Adams?) how long will it take one quadrant to realise that there there /is/ an inverse correlation between these metrics and actual results? Better draft that response carefully: you are now only allowed 3 posts and 3 sent mails per day!

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Magic Quadrant

        I do remember that when discussing a senior manager at my company, someone complained that he didn't reply to e-mails. I found that the senior manager did reply to my e-mails*, and then realised that I only sent him e-mails when I needed to.

        So do I get MS Productivity Score brownie points for efficiency of communication, or negative ones for lack of communication?

        *(I accidentally mis-typed that originally as 'e-mauls', the 'e-mals', which I quite like. Denizens of el Reg, please use as you see fit, I have decided not to copyright or patent their use. I thank you.)

        1. Aussie Doc

          Re: Magic Quadrant

          Have an upvote and one of these for 'e-mauls' ---->

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

            Re: Magic Quadrant

            Why thank you, kind sir, have one yourself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Measure what exactly?

      Measure what exactly... indeed!

      I've just spent 2 hours editing a Word document and changing every instance of "BigCorp Inc" to "Big Corporation Incorporated". I could have used find and replace but ...

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Measure what exactly?

        Macro it, with pauses.

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    days an employee has been sending emails, using the chat, using 'mentions' in emails etc.

    What is it, some kind of competition?

    I am so glad I retired this year...

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    All you need to know in one handy sentence...

    Interesting that they have tried to deny that it is all about surveillance on several occasions and now seem to be tiring of it, so they roll out the final line of defence...

    "tool was compliant with privacy laws and regulations"

    That's all you need to know.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All you need to know in one handy sentence...

      "tool was compliant with privacy laws and regulations"

      Doesn't say which laws and where they apply, could be Bealarus or North Korea!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This shit sounds like the creepy features within CargoWise. It literally tracks the seconds that you've had a dialog box open and the pace which you type into response boxes.

    This shit has been in their product for years, irregardless of the polished turd of a product it is today... all for managers to review to determine whatever it is that they do determine.... perhaps like Amazon, we'll just fire the bottom 5% "in order to promote productivity".

    1. Ian Dobbie

      Why not fire the bottom 50% and make everyone above average!

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Normal distribution

        My old employer had this idea that rating each team at the quarterly and annual reviews would produce a Normal distribution of grades across each team (of whatever size). I even attended a presentation where our Director insisted that every team of 20 would fit the Normal distribution. We also had an HR Department that insisted everyone be rated relative to their colleagues linearly, no two people could get the same level grading in a team.

        Not wanting a speedy P45 I refrained from informing him that the Normal, or Gaussian, distribution is a continuous distribution over the infinite real line, and that means that however extreme a possibility may be, it has a non-zero probability. It also means that no discrete finite population can exactly exhibit a normal distribution. That a Normal distribution arises from a measure on a population only if you allow members of that population to be graded equally (think of rolling two dice and collating the sum of the scores as the standard example 2+4 = 5+1 = 3+3). That if you enforce a linear distribution on a sample, you have basically prevented it from exhibiting a Normal distribution at all, and that in any organisation which includes training, you would expect a skewed Normal approximation towards the better and more talented end. And finally that if every team of 20 in a company that size had been rated with 95% confidence to a Normal distribution every quarter since the beginning of the Universe (approx 13.5 billion years ago) there was still a less than 50% chance that every team would have fitted a Normal distribution at the same time by now.

        No, I'm not a statistician, just a PhD mathematician with pedantry* issues.

        And now I'm retired, so as long as I don't actually name them, I can say what I like about BT.**

        *(A perfectionist is someone who likes to get things right. A pedant is someone who likes other people to get things right.)

        **OH SH%T

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Normal distribution

          "No, I'm not a statistician, just a PhD mathematician with pedantry* issues."

          Maybe he was referring to what seemed normal to him as opposed to an actual mathematical meaning of Normal :-)

    2. nematoad

      "in order to promote productivity".

      Ah yes! The old "The beatings will continue until morale improves" trope trotted out, now with improved IT.

      Of course it will be used in a benevolent manner we have Microsoft's word for that. Do these people never learn?

  8. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Homer's Typing Bird

    Homer solved this years ago.

    For those who less obsessed with Simpson's references....

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Big Brother

    " for users' own good"

    Because we are too childish to know what's good for us.

    Thank you MS for taking care of us ! :puke:

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Just workplace?

    "...turns Microsoft 365 into an full-fledged workplace surveillance tool."

    I have to wonder how much of the information collected lands back in Redmond.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Just workplace?

      To be honest, I don't mind *them* knowing. But my bosses, they matter.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Just workplace?

        Not so much worried about my boss, or their boss, it's the Corporate Productivity Team and the HR Metrics Analysis Team who scare me...faceless (and, for all I know, soulless) functionaries to whom I am a mere data point, and if I happen to appear below the bar (wherever it may be set)...I'm automatically "flagged"...

        Who knows what goes on in the darker reaches of the Productivity Metrics Group? There's no visibility...and no appeal (from me, or my boss). "Sorry, that's the way it works now"

        // the above is merely unverified paranoid musings

        // though there is a "Productivity Tracking" switch in my HR profile

        // currently set "OFF" though.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also in future updates...

    User did not look for any information with Microsoft Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer. -1 productivity point. The user should be reminded that Microsoft web browsing tools are the best and should always be used to ensure maximum information is available.

    User did not conduct any searches with Microsoft Bing. -1 productivity point. The user should be reminded that Microsoft Bing offers the only acceptable search tools to ensure the maximum information is available.

    Microsoft Alexa recorded the user muttering derogotory remarks about the usefulness of Microsoft Management tools during working hours. -1 Productivity point. The user should be reminded that even if they own their device the company has bought the rights to their privacy during their working hours.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goo it's illegal here.

    Automatic remote monitoring of workers is illegal here. The "Workers Statute" explicitly forbids them. I'd like to see how MS plans to sell it here.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So now you have to use any shit software MS dumps into the 365 suite to maintain your "score"

    we'll just have to create a "dark web" within the company of chat bots "collaborating" - holding meetings, calls, project plans - bot to bot.

    I can see now agree why we need AI and cloud. To fight AI.

    To soldier-bots and cloud armies!

  14. Tubz Silver badge

    If my company start this I will just turn around and say, fine, I'm working from the office and not from from home and they must provide all the health and wellbeing I need to ensure my safety. Cost them more for being dickheads !

  15. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    From the company that brought you the MS Network

    You remember, the one with the user agreement that said that copyright of Everything you sent over it was ceded to MS.

  16. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    "We're not in the business of monitoring employees"

    But now that you mention it, I'll just make a note of it

  17. Phil NZ

    Dump thought

    Unless it measures how much time I spend thinking through work problems when I’m taking a dump, and how that thinking saved me 3 meetings, 4 emails and a dozen tag mentions then it’s worse than useless.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is an unwanted feature and should be removed. Sooner the better

    The productivity score is an utterly disturbing feature. It is nothing more than an advanced surveillance tool, created with misguided intentions. It is not only infringing our users privacy and integrity, should we activate it, it is is also 100% useless as it does not reflect any real work. Our employees privacy and integrity is much more valuable to us compared to knowledge about the use of Microsoft tools on any level.

    This feature should be removed and buried deep in to the garbage dump for useless and destructive ideas, immediately

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conversely, we also need...

    ...a tool that measures how much productivity has been lost due to rubbish technology. Anonymously of course, but Windows is in a league of its own here.

  20. Jakester

    Very little of the work I do is productive using Microsoft. Most of my work involves unbreaking things that Microsoft breaks with "feature upgrades", security patches and resetting defaults during security patches. If I were a manager using a productivity score from Microsoft, I would probably look very closely at an employee with a high score why they are spending so much time screwing around with a Microsoft product and not doing real work.

  21. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Knowing what's measured means it's very gameable.

  22. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Motion sensors

    This reminds me of motion sensors to detect movement in offices. If no movement was detected for a while the lights went out. Cue lots of people jumping up and down waving their arms (literally I am not joking). The false premise was that people working would be moving around a lot, not sitting at their desks thinking. There was as similar one with noise detection, so every time the lights went out there was a rather ragged round of applause until they came back on again.

    Strangely seems to have gone out of fashion.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Motion sensors

      "not sitting at their desks thinking

      From my experience of the Service, that premise was probably correct. The more likely situation was "sitting at their desks typing". Although there was a lot of "output", very little thinking seemed to take place. Unfortunately, the movement sensors were not sensitive enough to detect fingers waggling on keyboards.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds great for spotting lazy employees. Must make sure that's turned on here.

  24. trevorde Silver badge

    Lies, damned lies and statistics

    Won't be long before someone releases a macro to game the system. If everyone is great, then no-one is.

  25. Mahhn

    "Your daily briefing" Unauthorized data access

    Like most offices we use MS Office products. This "productivity tool" raised a lot of red flags at our business when it started self generating Email to the people with the "Your daily briefing" crap. Since all our external Email is Tagged, and this didn't have that tag, and came from nobody - you caused concern by implimenting these apps without permission. If one of our sys admin had done this without a Change Control there would be trouble. I wish I could punish you MS, at least charge you for wasting my, and our users time.

    Microsoft - we, the administrators like to make decisions about the tools on our network. We do not approve of you simply enabling such invasive tools without our explicit permission, and understanding. This harvesting of data in what should be a 0 trust environment is very concerning.

    This isn't some free service like google where all data is expected to be harvested for marketing purposes, this is supposed to be a secure environment.

    We are offended, and it will reflect in our product choices, since paying you for a product isn't enough, you need to steal data we have not authorized you to, regardless of PII being stripped - it came from our company without our permission.

  26. eldakka

    "Productivity Score is an opt-in experience that gives IT administrators insights about technology and infrastructure usage."

    Opt-in for whom?

    Can an individual user choose not to opt-in (or change their mind and opt-out), or is it a policy setting that the IT department can set (at the direction of HR/management) to forcibly opt-in the staff?

    Based on the phrasing (and my inherent cynicism) , I assume the latter.

    1. EnviableOne
      Big Brother

      Participation is not compulsary

      those who choose not to Participate will be noted

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Microsoft is not the only one

      There are many companies (Hubstaff, et al) who offer panopticon software.

      Seems to be a market for it, though I wouldn't choose to work anywhere that used it.

  27. DwarfPants

    Unwanted and pointless

    It will certainly end up as a stick to beat someone somewhere.

    Aside from that it turns out:

    I communicate with my team most often

    I communicate with my customers less than my team

    I answer and send emails

    I participate in meetings and calls

    I looked for bears crap in the woods and the percentage of Popes that were Catholic metrics, but they appear to be missing

    I opted out of the emails they seem to require several seconds to open.

    Provides no clue if it I should be communicating more*, but if I communicate more I am less productive. Am i trying to hit some magic probably secret ratio**

    * Introvert and happy with my own company and have no intention of communicating more

    ** Will end up being part of the annual Pointless Development Review

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Unwanted and pointless

      "I opted out of the emails they seem to require several seconds to open."

      Almost certainly an indication of beacons or other "phone home" trackers hidden in the email.

  28. the Jim bloke

    Give it the Kiss of Death

    .. and describe it as a tool for 'reducing management headcount'

    Increased efficiency through better automation and performance monitoring will allow our management team to look after more people..,

    ..for the survivors of the cull..

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2020

    Use Confluence or Google Docs. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, Confluence or Google Docs would be it. The long-term benefits of giving your IT department little Hitlers less power have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

  30. RLWatkins

    We don't care what "it is designed to do"...

    ... we care how it will be used.

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