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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Microsoft has a new tool called "Productivity Score" that lets managers track how often their workforces are using Word and Excel, how many emails they're sending on Outlook, and how many video meetings they're attending on Teams or Skype.

The big picture: After fielding backlash over privacy concerns, Microsoft no longer allows companies to collect individual employee data with the tool. Firms can just look at aggregate numbers to track how they're using different products.

Why it matters: Just as the coronavirus pandemic has acted as an accelerant for the adoption of remote work, it has also normalized increased surveillance and data collection such as the "Productivity Score."

  • Some employers are taking workers' temperatures and collecting medical histories in the name of safety.
  • Others are using trackers to surveil their remote employees because they might doubt their ability to get work done at home.

The bottom line: Integrating such invasive surveillance technology into the workplace can swiftly erode workers' trust in their bosses and push them to quit.

Go deeper: The pandemic is ushering in a new era of workplace surveillance

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Microsoft's "Productivity Score" no longer allows companies to collect individual employee data.

Go deeper

Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

A year of erased progress in the workplace

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The pandemic didn't just move us forward in terms of workplace transformations — it also moved us back, erasing decades of workplace progress and deepening existing societal inequalities.

Why it matters: It could take years to reach the levels of equity that existed before the coronavirus ravaged the U.S. economy.

14 mins ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.

3 hours ago - World

Coast Guard searches for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast

A U.S. Coast Guard ship leaving its base in Miami Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: AP/Marta Lavandier

U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching into the night for 39 people whose boat sank off Florida's coast over the weekend after traveling from the Bahamas.

The big picture: A "good Samaritan" contacted the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Tuesday to say they "rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel" 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, per a tweet from the agency, which noted it was dealing with "a suspected human smuggling venture."