Employees grapple with privacy and job security concerns as a company mandates the use of corporate phones under the threat of termination.
Smartphones have mostly been a blessing for most people. They allow us to stay connected and get things done with just a touch of our fingers. However, it has also created concerns among many regarding privacy. Many corporations do not allow employees to use personal devices and instead give out their own electronics to ensure that they can monitor everybody. A Reddit user, u/He-is-me, experienced something similar at their company and decided to share their story on the platform. The post very aptly titled, "My Company Just Used 'Big Brother' to Describe a New System They Implemented," has garnered 1K upvotes on the platform with 81 comments. The individual happens to work for a corporate retailer but refuses to divulge additional details for privacy reasons.
They talk about how the organization spent money to get a new Apple iPhone 12 that had the company's own proprietary software to give to the employees. So, employees could only use the app that the company had put on it. Reflecting on the entire experience, they say, "Like most things with this company, the implementation of these phones was handled poorly and so far, the phones are pretty much useless."
In an effort to make the phones more appealing to employees, the company tried to "hype up" what the phone could do. However, the sad reality was that the phones did not do any of the things they said they would. In fact, the individual compares them to their computers at the office, which were far more efficient.
The problem came out of the fact that the company spent a lot of money and now wanted employees to take the phones seriously. Wanting to see how much employees were using the phone, they began tracking the employees' usage of the phones. They were brutally honest about their surveillance as the employer sent a mail informing them to think of the phones to be like "Big Brother" in reference to George Orwell's famous novel about a surveillance state. The individual happens to work with veterans who were long-time employees and had been there for fifteen years. They were also apprehensive about the phones and refused to use them for the "right reasons."
Despite many of these coworkers bringing in a lot of money for the company, they were treated harshly for not using the official phones. The company increased micro-management reduced labor hours to the bare minimum and withheld annual raises citing mundane reasons. They end their post saying that they were looking to shift jobs and found it hilarious that they used the term "Big Brother" for the new systems. Individuals on the platform criticized the company's harsh policies in the comments section.
Employees putting their foot down and calling out their workplace for faulty policies inspired netizens as they flocked to state their minds on the matter, siding with the employee. u/Kalanan commented, "No serious company would ever issue jailbroken/root corporate phones. The people responsible for that are completely stupid. This is a security and compliance issue that can get them booted from Apple or Android: really bad if you have an app. They seem, however, okay with silliness, as they are willing to fire the people that actually make money."