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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

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
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.

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

"Believe your eyes": Prosecutors make closing arguments in Chauvin trial

Steve Schleicher, an attorney for the prosecution in Derek Chauvin's trial, began closing arguments on Monday by describing in detail George Floyd's last moments — crying out for help and surrounded by strangers, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial, seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades, will reverberate across the country and have major implications in the fight for racial justice.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
4 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.